gave back early gains after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he has served subpoenas on the life insurers for practices that appear to have denied grieving military families and others of millions in life-insurance cash.
The complaint from the Attorney General's office says that it appears that Prudential and MetLife told military families that automatic lump-sum payouts were placed in an interest-bearing account, and that "it appears that the substantial interest earned on these accounts mostly benefit and enrich the insurers at the expense of the families to whom the money really belongs."
"It is shocking and plain wrong for these multi-national life insurance companies to pocket hundreds of millions in profits that really belong to those who have lost family members and have already suffered immensely," said Cuomo, who is also a candidate for Governor of New York. "To make matters worse, the insurance industry appears to be hoarding millions that belong to military families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country."
Shares of MetLife traded as high as $40.66 earlier in the session before falling to $39.04 on Cuomo's probe announcement. Lately, the stock was rebounding to $40.31, a gain of 2.6%. Prudential shares, meanwhile, fell into negative territory to $55.16 but were lately up 1.6% to $56.33.
On the other hand,
shares fell 4.5% to $71.80 after the company late Wednesday posted fiscal third-quarter earnings of 97 cents a share, above the consensus target of 93 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
Visa Chairman and CEO Joseph Saunders said it was too early to measure the impact Visa will see from the financial reform bill, which includes a new limit on the fees the company can charge to merchants to process debit card payments.
Several other financial stocks were rising on earnings results.
shares surged by 11.7% to $42.75 after the company notched a second-quarter profit of 98 cents a share on revenue of $2.58 billion, coming in well ahead of the consensus target for earnings of 77 cents a share on revenue of $2.32 billion.
shares jumped 4.5% to $23.65 after the ratings agency reported a second-quarter profit of 51 cents a share on revenue of $477.8 million, coming in ahead of the Thomson Reuters average estimate for earnings of 44 cents a share and revenue of $461.6 million.
said it had second-quarter adjusted earnings of 86 cents a share on revenue of $2.6 billion, compared to estimates for earnings of 80 cents a share on revenue of $2.59 billion. Lincoln National shares were climbing 6.4% to $25.62.
Outside of earnings, major U.S. bank stocks were trading mixed.
rose 1.6% to $149.55,
added 0.4% to $4.11,
Bank of America
tacked 0.2% to $14.02,
was flat at $27.01,
slipped 0.1% to $40.28, and
fell 1.4% to $27.69.
-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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Robert Holden is staff reporter Robert Holmes. He reports often from Second Life.