Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for AIG to earn $1.12 per share compared to $1.30 a year ago.
|AIG President and CEO Bob Benmosche: "Everyone thinks the government being a shareholder is the problem. It's not. They let us run the company."|
Investor expectations have certainly been rising, adding fuel to the AIG turnaround narrative. AIG shares gained more than 10% in April following some bullish analyst reports, while Bank of America shares lost more than 15% on the month. Year to date through Tuesday, Bank of America has performed slightly better, up 49.46% to 48.02% for AIG.
While Bank of America struggled during April as analysts including CLSA's Mike Mayo lost patience with another quarter of overly-complex earnings, AIG management impressed analysts during face-to-face meetings.AIG's plan to continue asset sales and buy back shares from the Treasury earned plaudits from the likes of Deutsche Bank analyst Joshua Shanker. "We believe that AIG is likely to buy back far more of its own shares than the market price would indicate and we believe those share buybacks happen at a pace that is far faster than currently anticipated," Shanker wrote March 25. He raised his target price to $40 from $35 and argued the insurer could buy back $15-20 billion in shares "or even more" over the next 12 months. The bulk of those buybacks are expected to come from the Treasury, which still owns a roughly 72% stake in AIG. Wells Fargo analyst John Hall followed up with a similarly bullish report, some two weeks later, bringing his target all the way up to $45. To cap it off, the New York Fed announced at the end of last month it had completed the sale of commercial real estate securities it took over from AIG during the crisis. Credit Suisse estimates the sale of the securities, part of a vehicle known as Maiden Lane III, will lead to a positive mark of $300 million when AIG comes out with its numbers Thursday. Management will host a conference call Friday morning at 8 a.m. AIG President and CEO Bob Benmosche told Jim Cramer on CNBC that AIG will eventually return a profit to taxpayers of $5-10 billion. "Everyone thinks the government being a shareholder is the problem. It's not. They let us run the company," Benmosche told Cramer.
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