Principal Financial Group Inc. reported strong third-quarter earnings growth "despite continued macroeconomic headwinds," the company said in a release Thursday. Net income available to shareholders for the quarter was $245.7 million, 31 percent higher than the year-ago period. Operating revenues for third quarter 2013 were $2.32 billion, a decrease of 12 percent from $2.64 billion for the same period last year. However, the year-ago quarter included a large single premium sale, so adjusting for that, operating revenues were up 9 percent, driven by an increase in fees and other revenue. "Third quarter was another strong quarter for us as we continue to balance both growth and profitability across the company," said Larry Zimpleman, chairman, president and CEO. The seven strategic acquisitions the company has made since the financial crisis "are now contributing to top and bottom line results and position us well for the future," he said. Principal also announced a common stock dividend of 26 cents per share, which puts its full-year dividend at a record 98 cents per share.