Financial Stocks in Motion
XL Capital (XL) was up 2.5% after the Bermuda-based insurance company said it expected losses relating to Hurricane Katrina to be about 1.75% of the industry loss, which the company said is consistent with its expectations. Brian M. O'Hara, president and chief executive, said the company still anticipated an operating profit for the year, barring any other significant similar events. Also Morgan Stanley upgraded the company's stock from equal-weight to overweight. Shares of XL Capital were up $1.74 to $70.53.
Everest Re (RE) rose 2% after the Bermuda-based reinsurance company said it expected to turn a profit this year, even though its losses from Hurricane Katrina could amount to about 1% of the total industry losses. The company also said it expected capital growth in December. Joseph V. Taranto, the company's chief executive, said that the impact of Hurricane Katrina "is within our risk-management tolerance and does not change our positioning or underlying fundamental financial strength." Shares of Everest were up $1.86 to $96.36.
Mercury General (MCY) fell 1% after Citigroup downgraded the Los Angeles-based insurance company from buy to hold. Citi said it continued "to believe that the company's dividend yield makes it an attractive core holding for strictly income-orientated investors." The bank also said that Mercury General could see some near-term minor price appreciation relating to its lack of exposure to Hurricane Katrina. Shares of Mercury General were down 57 cents to $59.15.
ACE (ACE) rose 2.7% after the Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance company said late Monday that early estimates indicate that its losses related to Hurricane Katrina will range from $450 million to $550 million. Evan Greenberg, president and CEO, said the company will not know the exact loss for some time to come. Shares of Ace were up $1.21 to $46.02.21st Century (TCHC) rose 13% even though the Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.-based insurance company cut its profit expectations for this year due to losses related to Hurricane Katrina. CEO Richard A. Widdicombe said the company lost about $1.9 million, or roughly 35 cents a share. Additional losses, if any, he said, would be covered by reinsurance. Widdicombe said the company expected earnings of $2.40 per share for 2005 and $4 per share in 2006. Shares of 21st Century were up $1.44 to $12.50.
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