(Updated with additional analyst expectations and stock movements.)
NEW YORK (
) -- Every dog has its day -- and today, apparently, is
Shares of the company were changing hands more than 56% higher Wednesday, up $7.59 to $21.11 in late-afternoon trading. That stock price reflects the 1-for-20 reverse-stock split that the company executed last month -- as a means, of course, of making its anemic shares appear to be heartier than they are.
More than 117 million shares had traded hands by 3:30. For the past three months, the stock has traded on an average daily volume of roughly 12 million shares per day.
The surge comes two days ahead of the Friday release of AIG's second-quarter earnings, which are expected to show a stability that the company hasn't seen in well over a year. A survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters predicts an operating profit of $1.31 a share for the quarter.
AIG posted $99 billion in net losses in 2008. Its last profitable quarter was the third quarter of 2007.
One analyst with Bernstein Research, Todd Bault, has predicted that unrealized investment gains from all the toxic assets AIG wrote down in previous periods could greatly increase the company's 2Q net worth.
Bault sees an increase in the book value for the company of as much as 55 percent.
At the risk of trafficking in speculation, rumors are also afloat in the markets today that AIG will soon announce the completion of a a significant, yet unnamed asset sale.
The gains also come on the heels of Monday's appointment of Robert Benmosche, the former head of
, as the chief executive of AIG. Benmosche becomes the fourth individual in the last 14 months to attempt to take the rudder of the massive, listing ship, which was rescued at sea by the U.S. government in the form of a $180 billion life raft, which included more than $80 billion in outstanding loan.
Worth bearing in mind, however, was the Dwight Eisenhower-like exiting pronouncement by AIG's outgoing CEO Ed Liddy, who pontificated at the company's annual meeting in June that the company may never fully wriggle out from under the thumb of government ownership -- and that the stock may never again attain its previous value.
-- Written by Ty Wenger in New York.
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