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Loews Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

During the call today, we might also discuss non-GAAP financial measures. Please refer to our security filings for reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP measures.

I will now turn the call over to Loews' Chief Executive Officer, Jim Tisch.

James S. Tisch

Thank you, Mary. Good morning, and thank you for joining us today to discuss Loews' second quarter results. As you know by now, we reported earnings of $56 million for the quarter, as compared to $250 million of Loews earned in the second quarter of 2011. Net income for the quarter includes after-tax, noncash fueling test impairment charges of $142 million at HighMount, related to the carrying value of its natural gas properties. These charges were the results of declines in natural gas and natural gas liquids pricing.

Loews ended the second quarter with $3.7 billion in cash and investments at the holding company level. This quarter, we spent approximately $51 million buying back about 1.3 million shares of Loews' stock.

During the second quarter, Moody's Investors Service upgraded by 1 notch the senior unsecured ratings of Loews, CNA Financial and Diamond Offshore. According to Moody's, Loews' upgrade to A2 reflects the strengthening credit profile of our primary operating subsidiaries and our standalone financial strength and conservative financial policies.

Moody's also affirmed the CNA insurance company's financial strength ratings and revised the outlook on these ratings to positive from stable. So now, both Moody's and S&P have CNA's financial strength on positive outlook, which is a real credit to the progress that's being made by the management team at CNA.

In addition to the good news from the rating agencies, CNA had a solid quarter, which was favorably impacted by lower catastrophe losses and improved non-catastrophe current accident year underwriting results. Lower net investment income from CNA's limited partnership investments created a drag on an otherwise strong improvement in net operating income. ELP investment produced a second quarter pretax loss of $35 million in 2012 as compared to pretax income of $11 million in 2011.

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