Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) — Prudential Financial Inc., the No. 2 U.S. life insurer, posted net income of $1.09 billion in the first quarter driven by results at the U.S. unit.

The profit compares with a loss of $514 million a year earlier, Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential said today in a statement. Operating earnings, which exclude some investments and the results of policies sold before the firm went public, were $2.49 per share, beating the $2.35 average estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer John Strangfeld, 60, is counting on pension-transfer deals and acquisitions to help Prudential maintain a return on equity of at least 13 percent to 14 percent. The deals add to funds that Prudential oversees at its asset-management operation, which has hired more than 40 managers since last year.

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