Principal Financial Group Inc.'s financial results gave investors something cheery to think about Monday on an otherwise gloomy day for the market. Principal announced that fourth-quarter earnings were up 19 percent and full-year earnings had increased 31 percent.

 

Net income for the fourth quarter increased 9 percent to $233.4 million, or 78 cents per share, compared with $214.9 million, or 72 cents per share, in fourth-quarter 2012. For the full year, net income increased 14 percent to $879.7 million, or $2.95 per share.  

 

Assets under management reached a record of $483.2 billion as of Dec. 31, up 20 percent compared with year-end 2012.

 

Principal's board also declared a quarterly dividend of 28 cents per share for the first quarter of 2014, an 8 percent increase from the fourth-quarter divided.

 

"We ended 2013 with very strong results, posting both record total company operating earnings for the year and record assets under management," Principal Chairman, President and CEO Larry Zimpleman said in a release. "These results were particularly strong in light of continued macroeconomic volatility, demonstrating the strength of our global investment management strategy and our ability to focus and execute."

 

The results from 2013 and strong business fundamentals will provide the company continued momentum into 2014, said Terry Lillis, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

 

"The continued shift of our business mix has now resulted in 63 percent of total company operating earnings coming from our fee-based businesses," Lillis said. "This provides financial flexibility for us to continue to invest in our businesses, both organically and through acquisitions, as well as manage capital in the best interest of long-term shareholders. The increase in our common stock dividend for first quarter 2014 demonstrates our confidence in our ability to grow earnings as well as our commitment to provide long-term value for shareholders."