Posts tagged 'Hartford Financial'

The hedgies’ tool of choice

The letter.

From an old New Yorker story on Daniel Loeb: Read more

Paulson calls for Hartford split

John Paulson, the billionaire investor, has taken public his efforts to get The Hartford Financial Services Group to split into two companies, says the FT. The Hartford, like other insurers, has been under pressure in its life insurance business as interest rates hover near zero, making it difficult to generate the income to cover pay-outs on products like annuities. At the same time, it has participated in an industry-wide increase in pricing in its separate property and casualty business to make up for disaster-related losses last year. Mr Paulson, the largest shareholder in The Hartford with an 8.4 per cent stake, published a letter to the company on Tuesdayblaming its underperformance on the combination of its two businesses. He said it is too complex for analysts to properly value and that most other insurers have chosen to focus on one or the other business. Meanwhile Bloomberg reports Mr Paulson sold his entire stakes in Citigroup and Bank of America in the fourth quarter before the shares rallied. Paulson & Co, which owned $643m worth of Citigroup at the end of the third quarter, had sold its entire 25.1m shares as of December 31, the firm said on Tuesday in a filing with the SEC. He also sold $394m worth of Bank of America, or 64.3m shares. It also sold its 998,900 shares of BlackRock valued at $146m.

John Paulson vs Hartford Financial

You’ll have to imagine how it sounded.

But here’s an interesting demonstration of John Paulson at work… stepping onto Hartford Financial’s earnings conference call to lambast the insurer’s performance. Shares in Hartford dropped 39 per cent last year. Paulson’s the biggest holder. Read more

US insurers release mixed results

Prudential Financial, the US insurance group, reported increased core profits of $831m for the second quarter on Wednesday as revenues were boosted by two acquisitions and a sharp increase in the value of annuity accounts, the FT reports. Shares in Prudential, the second-biggest insurer after MetLife, rose $0.72, or 1.7 per cent, in after-hours trading to $57.60. The net profit of $831m increased from $798m a year earlier. On an operating basis, earnings per share were $1.71; analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected $1.55 a share. Meanwhile, Hartford Financial, the smaller US insurer, announced a $500m share buy-back programme only a year after repaying government bail-out money. The announcement came after Hartford’s second-quarter results, which were pre-released last month due to charges related to tornadoes that devastated parts of the US earlier this year. Net income at Hartford fell from $76m in the second quarter of 2010 to $24m.

CDS update: Well, that was quick…

This CDS report was written by Markit’s Gavan Nolan

European credit’s 2009 rally came to a halt today in a mixed session. The Markit iTraxx Europe was trading around 163bp, about 7bp wider than Friday’s close. But tightening credits outnumbered marginally names that widened. The underlying constituents of the main have outperformed the index since the beginning of the year, going some way to correct the large difference that opened up in December. Read more

CDS update: Deepening gloom

This CDS report was written by Markit’s Gavan Nolan
Markit CDS Chart Nov 20 2008Markit credit indices surged through their record wide levels today as pessimism enveloped global markets. The Markit iTraxx Europe index reached 193bp before recovering some ground this afternoon. Crossover and HiVol broke through key barriers and closed well above 900bp and 400bp respectively. The deterioration was broad-based, with all but a handful of names widening. No sector escaped, though banks and telecoms provided some resistance.

Chemicals continued to underperform after BASF‘s downbeat trading statement yesterday. Unsurprisingly, cyclical sectors were significantly wider. Lafarge, a constituent of the iTraxx main, widened to unprecedented levels. Smaller building materials group HeidelbergCement is now trading 47 points upfront – it was trading at 113bp at the beginning of the year. Read more

You couldn’t make this up, Hartford Financial edition

Bloomberg:

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. said it’s buying a Florida bank [Federal Trust Bank] for $10 million so the insurer can be eligible for the Treasury rescue program.
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