NEW YORK (
)--S&P 500 growth projections for the fourth quarter are unusually bullish in large part because of
(AIG - Get Report)
rebound from a disastrous fourth quarter last year.
S&P 500 companies are expected to earn $30 billion more in the fourth quarter of 2011 than they earned in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to analyst consensus projections from
. However, AIG is expected to account for $15 billion of that total.
AIG lost a whopping $16.20 per share in the fourth quarter of 2010, largely due to a $4.2 billion charge to strengthen loss reserves at Chartis, its global property casualty business. This year, analysts expect AIG to earn $0.63 per share.
Include the projected $15 billion in growth at AIG, and the S&P 500 would grow by 14% comparing the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011. Take out AIG, and growth projections fall to 7%. AIG's $15 billion accounts for all but $3 billion of the projected $18 billion in financial sector earnings growth.
In separate AIG news, former CEO and Chairman Hank Greenberg is suing the government for its $25 billion takeover of AIG, arguing the move was unconstitutional,
The Wall Street Journal
The government's bailout of AIG stands at more than $60 billion, as of June 30, according to
Written by Dan Freed in New York
Follow this writer on Twitter.