Travelers Stock Up Despite Hurricane-Related Losses

Travelers ( TRV) is seeing its shares rise this morning, despite an announcement that catastrophe losses climbed to $1.05 billion during the quarter.

The company's loss estimates for Hurricane Ike reflect catastrophe losses in eight states, and they include Travelers' estimated share of assessments from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. Management expects these items to reduce third-quarter operating income per diluted share by about 80 cents, and net income per diluted share by about $1.

We have avoided shares of TRV since our coverage began in early June, when shares were trading at the $47 level. We would still avoid the shares here and would like to see shares stabilize a bit before considering any change in our ratings. The company has a 3.80% dividend yield, on the basis of Friday's closing stock price of $30.50.

Travelers is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

Waste Management Trashes Bid for Rival

Waste Management ( WMI) has just announced it is withdrawing its $6.73 billion bid to acquire its smaller waste disposal rival Republic Services ( RSG).

Back in August, Waste Management had raised its buyout offer to $37 a share, after Republic Services Group rejected an earlier $34-per-share bid. RSG had refused the buyout offer so it could move forward in its own deal to acquire Allied Waste Industries, which the company felt was a better match.

We had removed shares of WMI from our "Recommended" list back on Sept. 9, when shares were trading at $35.35. We felt then that the company was becoming unattractive from a risk/reward and dividend yield standpoint. We removed RSG on Sept. 17 when shares were trading at $31.41.

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