Willis Group Holdings reported a 37 percent decrease in net income, but beat investment analyst’s estimates of earnings per share by 3 cents, driving its stock up $2.80 a share by noontime trading.

The London-headquartered insurance broker’s stock performance was also fueled by its announcement that it plans to begin a $1 billion stock repurchase program. The plan, the broker said, is an open-ended program where purchases will be made from time to time on the open market and through negotiated trades.

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