Friday, January 31, 2014

Comcast Seeks Advice on Possible Bid for Time Warner Cable

Hot Bank Stocks To Buy Right Now

National Cable and Telecommunications Association Cable ShowAndrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Time Warner Cable's flirtation with potential merger suitors may include Comcast, which is seeking advice on possible regulatory hurdles if it should pursue a bid, sources told CNBC on Friday. Comcast (CMCSA) (CMCSK), the parent company of CNBC, is not in active discussions on deal terms with Time Warner Cable (TWC), these sources say, but is asking for guidance on antitrust and telecommunications-related issues. According to people familiar with the matter, TWC has made it clear that if it should sell itself, Comcast would be its preferred buyer. These people add that Comcast has been quietly mulling a merger with TWC for some time. The cable operator is on the verge of a bid from Charter Communications (CHTR), according to The Wall Street Journal, which said Charter is near an agreement with banks for the funds to make that offer. Analysts, however, say Time Warner's needs may be better suited with Comcast. "The synergies are very real, and Comcast would be a better fit," said Craig Moffett, founder and senior analyst at MoffettNathanson. He said that while the Department of Justice's anti-trust requirements may not pose an insurmountable challenge, the more stringent litmus test might come from the Federal Communications Commission.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

5 Stock Trades to Take This Week

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- In case you missed the memo, October has been a stellar month for stocks. Since the start of the month, the S&P 500 has managed to shove its way 4.8% higher, tacking on some serious performance onto an already solid 2013. But most investors wouldn't know it.

After all, with all the drama surrounding the government shutdown, the bickering over the next Fed chairman and the anxiety over pared down earnings expectations, investors could be forgiven for not noticing the upside action. None of that changes that the S&P closed at new all-time highs yesterday.

Yes, this is still very much a "buy the dips" market.

So to take full advantage of the strength in stocks, we're taking a closer technical look at five individual names with breakout potential this week.

For the unfamiliar, technical analysis is a way for investors to quantify qualitative factors, such as investor psychology, based on a stock's price action and trends. Once the domain of cloistered trading teams on Wall Street, technicals can help top traders make consistently profitable trades and can aid fundamental investors in better planning their stock execution.

Without further ado, let's take a look at five technical setups worth trading now.

Mohawk Industries

First up is $10 billion flooring maker Mohawk Industries (MHK). 2013 has been a stellar year for shares of Mohawk, with the stock rallying more than 46% on the strength of the housing sector.

But don't ignore this stock just because you missed the move. MHK looks well-positioned for more upside in 2013.

That's because Mohawk is currently forming an ascending triangle pattern, a bullish price setup that's formed by a horizontal resistance level above shares (at $135 in this case) and uptrending support to the downside. Basically, as shares of MHK bounce in between those two technical price levels, they're getting squeezed closer and closer to a breakout above resistance. When that breakout happens, it's time to be a buyer.

Shares have gotten swatted down on each of the last four attempts at the $135 level. That glut of selling pressure makes a move through it all the more significant. We could see another test of $135 happen this week.


HanesBrands (HBI) is another name that's posted stellar performance in 2013. But the past few months have been relatively flat for shares of the apparel maker. Here's how to trade it.

HanesBrands has spent the last three months in a rectangle pattern, a price setup that's formed by a horizontal resistance level above shares at $64 and another horizontal support level down at $59. The rectangle gets its name because it essentially "boxes in" shares -- but like the setup in MHK, the buy signal comes on a breakout through the top of the channel at $64. HBI is testing its breakout range in today's trading session.

Whenever you're looking at any technical price pattern, it's critical to think in terms of those buyers and sellers. Rectangles, triangles and other pattern names are a good quick way to explain what's going on in a stock, but they're not the reason it's tradable. Instead, it all comes down to supply and demand for shares.

That $64 resistance level is a price where there has been an excess of supply of shares; in other words, it's a place where sellers have been more eager to step in and take gains than buyers have been to buy. That's what makes a breakout above it so significant. The move means that buyers are finally strong enough to absorb all of the excess supply above that price level.

Don't be early on this trade.


Despite the broad market's bullish bias right now, not every name looks equally strong. URS (URS) makes a good case in point. While the $4 billion engineering stock has fared well year-to-date, it's starting to look "toppy" from here.

The double top pattern is a price setup that's formed by two swing highs that peak at the same level. Those two tops happened in early September and then again in the middle of this month. A move through $52 is the signal that it's time to be a seller in URS. While this stock still has a little while to go before it goes into bear mode, I'd be paying close attention to that $52 support line if I were a shareholder in this name.

The inverse head and shoulders pattern is a reversal pattern that indicates exhaustion among sellers. It's formed by two swing lows that bottom out around the same level (the shoulders), separated by a deeper low (the head). The buy signal comes on a move through the neckline, which is right at $950. The fact that NVR's neckline level comes right at a big round number price is significant; it means that if shares can catch a bid above $950, more investor eyes are going to be fixated on a move through that level.

Here again, momentum adds some confidence to this trade. RSI has been in an uptrend since the pattern started forming in shares, and it's held that uptrend on the pullbacks. Since momentum is a leading indicator of price, there's clearly an upside bias in this stock right now.

Telecom Argentina

We're seeing the exact same setup in shares of Telecom Argentina (TEO) right now: Just like NVR, this mid-cap Argentina-based telco is forming an inverse head and shoulders setup. The key difference with TEO is the fact that the pattern is coming in at the top of this stock's recent range, rather than the bottom That's not a textbook setup, but the trading implications are exactly the same.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now

TEO's neckline level is right at $20. If shares are able to hold a move through that $20 price level, it makes sense to be a buyer in this Latin American communications stock. After that, I'd recommend keeping a protective stop on the other side of the 50-day moving average.

To see this week's trades in action, check out the Technical Setups for the Week portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Baig: Lenovo's Motorola deal a bold play

NEW YORK — In 2005 a then relatively unknown Chinese company named Lenovo grabbed the venerable ThinkPad laptop brand from IBM, as part of its acquisition of the latter's personal computer business. Today Lenovo is the world's largest PC maker. In acquiring the Motorola Mobility brand from Google for nearly $3 billion, Lenovo is attempting to duplicate the success it had with PCs in the hotly contested smartphone space.

It remains to be seen if Lenovo is up to that task, but to suggest it won't be easy is an understatement. Motorola may retain an iconic brand name, but the time when its sexy Razr phone was the envy of every tech lover's eye was long ago, back in the middle of the last decade when American consumers as it happened were just getting to know Lenovo.

NEWS: Google agrees to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91B

More recently Motorola, under what will turn out to be a rather brief Google ownership, hasn't come close to matching the success of global rivals Apple and Samsung, even with the company's Moto X flagship phone generating mostly positive reviews, including from yours truly.

I suppose Google can shrug this whole Motorola chapter off as a failed experiment, but in making this deal with Lenovo it holds onto most of Motorola's patent portfolio, which is supposedly what it wanted in the first place. And Google also retains the advanced research group that is led by Regina Dugan, former head of the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Motorola never got most-favored nation status from Google anyway, which was of course the way it had to be — Google is invested in the success of all of its Android partners, including of course Samsung.

But the deal does appear to make sense for Lenovo, which has had designs on the North American phone market for awhile, even as its been slow to bring versions of the phones it already sells overseas to the States. As recently as this past fall, Lenovo was reportedly interested in BlackBerry.

S! o yes, the challenges for a Lenovo-led Motorola are substantial. But given Lenovo's past success with well-known U.S. brands, I wouldn't bet against them.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015

Earlier this month, I outlined a few reasons Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) CEO Warren Buffett might be compelled to spend some of his $15 billion war chest to acquire "mini-Berkshire" Markel (NYSE: MKL  ) .

First, I noted Buffett looks for top-notch management in the companies he buys, which is something of which Markel�certainly has no shortage.

What's more, Markel's insurance operations could not only complement Berkshire Hathaway's existing businesses, but could also provide new investment money for Buffett to put to work in the form of additional insurance float dollars.

Finally, Markel takes pride in its ability to grow by identifying and acquiring fantastic smaller businesses. As it so happens, Buffett is also fond of buying such businesses, especially considering Berkshire forked out $2.3 billion for small bolt-on acquisitions last year alone.

With that in mind, it certainly doesn't hurt to look at the other side of the coin.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Prudential Financial Inc.(PRU)

Prudential Financial, Inc., through its subsidiaries, offers various financial products and services in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The company operates through three divisions: The U.S. Retirement Solutions and Investment Management, The U.S. Individual Life and Group Insurance, and The International Insurance and Investments. The U.S. Retirement Solutions and Investment Management division provides individual variable and fixed annuity products, as well as offers retirement investment and income products and services to retirement plan sponsors in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. This division also provides investment management and advisory services to the public and private marketplace. The U.S. Individual Life and Group Insurance division offers individual variable life, term life, and universal life insurance products; and group life, long-term and short-term group disability, long-term care, and group corporate-, bank-and trus t-owned life insurance products to institutional clients. This division also sells accidental death and dismemberment, and other ancillary coverages, as well as provides plan administrative services; and offers preferred provider and indemnity dental coverage plans to clients. The International Insurance and Investments division provides international individual life insurance products in Japan, Korea, and other foreign countries; and offers proprietary and non-proprietary asset management, investment advice, and services to retail and institutional clients internationally. In addition, the company engages in real estate brokerage franchise business, which involves marketing its franchises to the real estate companies. Further, it provides institutional clients and government agencies with various services in connection with the relocation of their employees. Prudential Financial, Inc. was founded in 1875 and is headquartered in Newark, New Jersey.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Rising long-term rates, however, would help boost insurers' income. Already, you've seen Prudential (NYSE: PRU  ) and Hartford Financial (NYSE: HIG  ) hit multiyear highs as their shares have anticipated the climb in rates. If that trend continues, then the boost to portfolio income could be substantial enough to provide nice earnings growth, leading to further share-price appreciation even without an expansion in their earnings multiples.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Beyond mortgage insurance, not everything has gone well at Genworth. Its long-term care insurance business continues to struggle, with operating profits having fallen by more than 40% as Genworth struggles to get regulators to allow it to increase rates enough to make the business economically viable. Major competitors MetLife (NYSE: MET  ) and Prudential (NYSE: PRU  ) have already pulled back from long-term care, and Genworth might have to follow suit if it can't find other ways to make money from the segment. In addition, Genworth joined other insurers in settling claims that it and others failed to pay policy benefits to life-insurance customers, serving as a reminder that litigation risks continue to exist throughout the financial industry.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: CNO Financial Group Inc. (CNO)

CNO Financial Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the development, marketing, and administration of health insurance, annuity, individual life insurance, and other insurance products for senior and middle-income markets in the United States. The company markets and distributes Medicare supplement insurance, interest-sensitive and traditional life insurance, fixed annuities, and long-term care insurance products; Medicare advantage plans through a distribution arrangement with Humana Inc.; and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans through a distribution and reinsurance arrangement with Coventry Health Care. It also markets and distributes supplemental health, including specified disease, accident, and hospital indemnity insurance products; and life insurance to middle-income consumers at home and the worksite through independent marketing organizations and insurance agencies. In addition, the company markets primarily graded benefit and simplified issue life insurance products directly to customers through television advertising, direct mail, Internet, and telemarketing. It sells its products through career agents, independent producers, direct marketing, and sales managers. CNO Financial Group, Inc. has strategic alliances with Coventry and Humana. The company was formerly known as Conseco, Inc. and changed its name to CNO Financial Group, Inc. in May 2010. CNO Financial Group, Inc. was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By David Fried, Editor, The Buyback Letter]

    Insurance holding company CNO Financial Group (CNO) and its insurance subsidiaries��rincipally Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Washington National, and Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company��erve pre-retiree and retired Americans.

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    Up first is CNO Financial Group (CNO), a mid-cap financial stock that's rocketed close to 60% higher since the calendar flipped over to January. Yup, it's been a great year for the market, but it's been a far better one for investors who own CNO. But that strong performance isn't showing any signs of slowing yet. In fact, CNO looks primed for even more upside in the fourth quarter.

    That's because CNO is currently forming a bullish pattern called an ascending triangle. The ascending triangle pattern is formed by a horizontal resistance level above shares -- in this case at $14.75 -- and uptrending support to the downside. Basically, as CNO bounces in between those two technical price levels, it's getting squeezed closer and closer to a breakout above that $14.75 resistance level. When that breakout happens, it's time to become a buyer.

    ACCO's price action isn't exactly textbook. After all, the pattern is coming in at the bottom of a downtrend, not after an uptrend. But ultimately, that doesn't change the trading implications of a move through that $7.50 level.

    Whenever you're looking at any technical price pattern, it's critical to think in terms of those buyers and sellers. Ascending triangles and other pattern names are a good quick way to explain what's going on in a stock, but they're not the reason it's tradable. Instead, it all comes down to supply and demand for shares.

    That $7.50 resistance level is a price where there has been an excess of supply of shares; in other words, it's a place where sellers have been more eager to step in and take gains than buyers have been to buy. That's what makes a breakout above it so significant. The move means that buyers are finally strong enough to absorb all of the excess supply above that price level.

    Don't be early on this trade.

  • [By Vanin Aegea]

    I have heard many people comment about the insurance policies for cars, houses, life, assets, etc. The arguments always revolve around the same issue: Is it really necessary? What are the chances to be hit by a Hurricane, or to meet a sudden death? Well, nobody really knows. Some individuals however, sleep better when they know a policy backs their life investments. Here, I will look into three insurance companies that concentrate on different policies, or geographies. These are: China Life (LFC), and Conseco (CNO).

Top Warren Buffett Companies To Watch In Right Now: The Travelers Companies Inc.(TRV)

The Travelers Companies, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations, and individuals primarily in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Business Insurance; Financial, Professional, and International Insurance; and Personal Insurance. The Business Insurance segment offers property and casualty products and services, such as commercial multi-peril, property, general liability, commercial auto, and workers? compensation insurance. It operates in six groups: Select Accounts, which serves small businesses; Commercial Accounts that serves mid-sized businesses; National Accounts, which serves large companies; Industry-Focused Underwriting that serves targeted industries; Target Risk Underwriting, which serves commercial businesses requiring specialized product underwriting, claims handling, and risk management services; and Special ized Distribution that offers products to customers through licensed wholesale, general, and program agents. The Financial, Professional, and International Insurance segment provides surety and financial liability coverage, which uses a credit-based underwriting process; and property and casualty products primarily in the United States., the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada. The Personal Insurance segment offers property and casualty insurance covering personal risks, primarily automobile and homeowners insurance to individuals. It distributes its products through independent agents, sponsoring organizations, joint marketing arrangements with other insurers, and direct marketing. The company was founded in 1853 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:

    Travelers provides valuable insurance products and services to an increasing number of consumers and companies. However, a recent earnings report has investors in the company feeling a bit disappointed. The stock has been on a modest rise over the last several months, but is now seeing a slight pullback. Over most of the last four quarters, investors in the company have had mixed feelings about the stock, though earnings and revenue figures have been rising. Relative to its peers and sector, Travelers has been an average year-to-date performer. WAIT AND SEE what Travelers does this coming quarter.

  • [By Michael Flannelly]

    Travelers Companies Inc (TRV) was downgraded by analysts at Wells Fargo on Thursday, as they believe shares of the insurance provider will lose some steam going forward.

    The analysts downgraded TRV from “Outperform” to “Market Perform” and see shares reaching a valuation range of $89-$92, down from the previous target range of $94-$98. This new price target range suggests a 6% to 10% upside to the stock’s Wednesday closing price of $83.73.

    Furthermore, the analysts note that TRV is up 41% since they started recommending the stock in January 2012, versus a 32% gain for the S&P 500. “Travelers has been a leader in gaining commercial lines renewal rate increases utilizing a disciplined, segmented approach. Yet as TRV reaches rate adequacy across more of its segmentation bands, we think there is less profit leverage, which could slow multiple expansion going forward.”

    Travelers shares were inactive during pre-market trading on Thursday. The stock is up 16.58% year-to-date.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: W.R. Berkley Corporation(WRB)

W. R. Berkley Corporation, an insurance holding company, operates as commercial lines writers in the property casualty insurance business primarily in the United States. The company operates in five segments: Specialty, Regional, Alternative Markets, Reinsurance, and International. The Specialty segment underwrites third-party liability risks, primarily excess, and surplus lines, including premises operations, professional liability, commercial automobile, products liability, and property lines. The Regional segments provide commercial insurance products to small-to-mid-sized businesses, and state and local governmental entities primarily in the 45 states of the United States. The Alternative Markets segment develops, insures, reinsures, and administers self-insurance programs and other alternative risk transfer mechanisms. This segment offers its services to employers, employer groups, insurers, and alternative market funds, as well as provides a range of fee-based servic es, including consulting and administrative services. The Reinsurance segment engages in the underwriting property casualty reinsurance on a treaty and a facultative basis, including individual certificates and program facultative business; and specialty and standard reinsurance lines, and property and casualty reinsurance. The International segment offers personal and commercial property casualty insurance in South America; commercial property casualty insurance in the United Kingdom and continental Europe; and reinsurance in Australia, Southeast Asia, and Canada. The company was founded in 1967 and is based in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Insurance holding company�W.R. Berkley� (NYSE: WRB  ) �announced yesterday�its second-quarter dividend of $0.10 per share, an 11% increase over the $0.09 per share it paid last quarter.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Earnings reports expected on Monday include:

    Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.48 on revenue of $1.10 billion, compared to last year�� EPS of $0.13 on revenue of $905.09 million. Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $1.19 on revenue of $2.07 billion, compared to last year�� EPS of $1.21. W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE: WRB) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.71 on revenue of $1.57 billion, compared to last year�� EPS of $0.61 on revenue of $1.42 billion. Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.44 on revenue of $1.27 billion, compared to last year�� EPS of $0.56 on revenue of $1.31 billion.


  • [By Monica Gerson]

    W.R. Berkley (NYSE: WRB)is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $0.74 per share on revenue of $1.57 billion.

    V.F. Corp (NYSE: VFC) is projected to report its Q3 earnings at $3.78 per share on revenue of $3.34 billion.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Cigna Corp (CI)

Cigna Corporation (Cigna), incorporated on November 3, 1981, is a holding company. Cigna is a global health service company, with insurance subsidiaries that are providers of medical, dental, disability, life and accident insurance and related products and services. In the United States, these products and services are offered through employers and other groups, and in selected international markets, Cigna offers supplemental health, life and accident insurance products and international health care coverage and services to businesses, governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals. The Company also has certain run-off operations, including a Run-off Reinsurance segment. Cigna�� revenues are derived from premiums, fees, mail order pharmacy, other revenues and investment income. Cigna operates in five segments: Health Care, Disability and Life, International, Run-off Reinsurance, and Other Operations, including Corporate-owned Life Insurance. On January 31, 2012, Cigna acquired HealthSpring, Inc. On November 30, 2011, the Company acquired FirstAssist Group Holdings Limited. In August 2012, the Company acquired Great American Supplemental Benefits from American Financial Group, Inc. In January 2013, the Company acquired select Arcadian and Humana Medicare Advantage plans in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. In September 2013, Cigna Corporation completed its acquisition of Alegis Care, a portfolio company of Triton Pacific Capital Partners. Effective September 3, 2013, Cigna Corp acquired Home Physicians Management LLC.

Health Care

Cigna�� Health Care segment (Cigna HealthCare) offers insured and self-insured medical, dental, behavioral health, vision, and prescription drug benefit plans, health advocacy programs and other products and services that may be integrated to provide health care benefit programs. Cigna HealthCare companies offer these products and services in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States Virgin Islands. Cigna offers a ! range of products and services to employers and other groups that sponsor group health plans. With the exception of Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Medicare, Voluntary and stop loss products, each of Cigna HealthCare�� products is offered with alternative funding options. Cigna may sell multiple products under the same funding arrangement to the same employer. Approximately 85% of the Company�� medical customers are enrolled in self-insured plans, with the remainder split between guaranteed cost and experience-rated insured plans. Approximately 90% of its medical customers are enrolled in self-insured and experience-rated plans. Cigna also offers guaranteed cost medical and dental insurance to individuals. Cigna HealthCare offers a product line of indemnity managed care benefit plans on an insured (guaranteed cost or experience-rated) or self-insured basis. The Network, Network Open Access, and Open Access Plus In-Network products cover only those services provided by Cigna HealthCare participating health care professionals (in-network) and emergency services provided by non-participating health care professionals (out-of-network). The Network point of service (POS), Network POS Open Access and Open Access Plus plans (OAP) cover health care services provided by participating, and non-participating health care professionals.

Cigna HealthCare offers a Preferred Provider Plans (PPO) product line that features a national network. Like Network and Open Access Plus Plans, the PPO product line is offered on an insured (guaranteed cost or experience-rated) or self-insured basis. Cigna HealthCare offers the Cigna Choice Fund suite of products, including Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Cigna HealthCare offers stop loss insurance coverage for self-insured plans. This stop loss coverage reimburses the plan for claims in excess of a predetermined amount, either for individuals (specific) or the entire group (aggregate), ! or both. ! Cigna HealthCare provides Taft-Hartley trusts and other entities access to its national provider network and provides claim re-pricing and other services. Cigna HealthCare�� voluntary medical products are offered to employers with 51 or more eligible employees. As a result of the acquisition of HealthSpring, Cigna operates Medicare Advantage coordinated care plans in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Under the Medicare program, Medicare-eligible beneficiaries may receive health care benefits, including prescription drugs, through a managed care health plan, such as the Company�� coordinated care plans, and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimburse the Company pursuant to a risk adjustment payment methodology.

Cigna�� Medicare Part D prescription drug program, Cigna Medicare Rx, provides a number of plan options, as well as service and information support to Medicare and Medicaid eligible customers. Cigna Medicare Rx is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Cigna HealthCare offers medical management, disease management, and other health advocacy services to employers and other plan sponsors. These services are offered to customers covered under Cigna HealthCare administered plans, as well as individuals covered under plans insured and/or administered by competing insurers/third-party administrators. Cigna�� onsite services include more than 75 health centers and the annual administration of more than 400,000 biometric screenings, as well as approximately 2,200 wellness seminars each year. As a result of the acquisition of HealthSpring, Cigna operates three LivingWell Health Centers, where Medicare customers can receive care from physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, and nurses educators. Cigna arranges for behavioral health care services for customers through its network of participating behavioral health care professionals. Cigna offers behavioral health care case management services, employee assistance programs (EAP), and wor! k/life pr! ograms to employers, Government entities and other groups sponsoring health benefit plans. As of December 31, 2011, Cigna�� behavioral national network had approximately 108,000 access points to psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers and approximately 9,000 facilities and clinics.

Cigna Pharmacy Management offers prescription drug plans to its insured and self-funded customers both in conjunction with its medical products and on a stand-alone basis. With a network of over 62,000 contracted pharmacies, Cigna Pharmacy Management is a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) offering clinical integration programs, specialty pharmacy solutions and home delivery of prescription medicines. Cigna�� specialty pharmacy outcome management program, TheraCare, manages specialty conditions. TheraCare is coordinated with other Cigna health advocacy programs and all data is captured for analysis and reporting. Cigna Dental Health offers a variety of dental care products, including dental health maintenance organization plans (Dental HMO), dental preferred provider organization (DPPO) plans, dental exclusive provider organization plans, traditional dental indemnity plans and a dental discount program. As of December 31, 2011, Cigna Dental Health customers totaled approximately 10.9 million. Managed dental care products are offered in 38 states for Dental HMO and 43 states and the District of Columbia for Dental PPO through a network of independent health care professionals that have contracted with Cigna Dental Health to provide dental services. Cigna Dental Health customers access care from the dental PPO network in the United States and one of the dental HMO networks in the United States, with approximately 235,500 DPPO-contracted access points (approximately 92,000 health care professionals) and approximately 58,000 dental HMO-contracted access points (approximately 16,500 health care professionals).

Disability and Life

Cigna�� Disability and Life segment (Cign! a Disabil! ity and Life) provides insurance products and their related services, such as group long-term and short-term disability insurance, group life insurance and accident and specialty insurance. These products and services are provided by subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation. Cigna Disability and Life markets products in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands and Canada. Cigna Disability and Life also provides assistance to employees in returning to work and assistance to their employers in managing the cost of employee disability. Cigna Disability and Life offers personal accident insurance coverage, which consists primarily of accidental death and dismemberment and travel accident insurance to employers. Group accident insurance may be employer-paid or employee-paid. Cigna Disability and Life also offers specialty insurance services that consist primarily of disability and life, accident, and hospital indemnity products to professional or trade associations and financial institutions.


CIGNA�� International segment (CIGNA International) offers supplemental health, life and accident insurance products, as well as international health care products and services. These products and services are provided by subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including foreign operating entities. Cigna International provides employers, affinity groups and individuals with local and global health care and related financial protection programs. Supplemental health products provide a specified payment for a range of health risks and include personal accident, accidental death, critical illness, hospitalization, travel, dental, cancer and other dread disease coverages. Term life, as well as variable universal life insurance and other savings products are also included in the product portfolio. Cigna International�� supplemental health, life and accident insurance products are offered in South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the European Un! ion, Chin! a, New Zealand, Thailand and Turkey. In China, Cigna International owns a 50% interest in a joint venture through, which its products and services are offered. Cigna International�� health care businesses primarily consist of products and services to meet the needs of local and multinational companies and organizations and their local and globally mobile employees and dependents. These products and services include insurance and administrative services for medical, dental, vision, life, accidental death and dismemberment, and disability risks. In addition, Cigna International�� health care businesses include products and services, which are primarily provided through group benefits programs to employees of businesses and other organizations in the United Kingdom and Spain. These products and services include medical indemnity insurance coverage, with some offerings having managed care or administrative service aspects.

Run-off Reinsurance

Cigna�� reinsurance segment reinsured guaranteed minimum death benefits (GMDB) (also known as variable annuity death benefits (VADBe)), under certain variable annuities issued by other insurance companies. These variable annuities are investments in mutual funds combined with a death benefit. The Company purchased retrocessional protection that covers approximately 5% of the assumed risks. The Company also maintains a dynamic hedge program. Cigna also reinsured guaranteed minimum income benefits (GMIB) under certain variable annuities issued by other insurance companies. These variable annuities are investments in mutual funds combined with minimum income and death benefits. These products under Cigna�� Run-off Reinsurance segment were sold principally in North America and Europe through a sales force and through intermediaries.

Other Operations

The principal products of the Corporate-owned Life Insurance (COLI) business are permanent insurance contracts sold to corporations to provide coverage on the lives ! of certai! n employees for the purpose of funding employer-paid future benefit obligations. The principal services provided by the COLI business are issuance and administration of the insurance policies. COLI policies provide a death benefit for which Cigna collects fees to cover mortality risk. COLI policies also allow policy owners to borrow against a portion of their cash surrender value.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    United’s disappointment has helped drag down other health insurers. WellPoint (WLP) dropped 1.3% to $88.53, Health Net (HNT) has fallen 1.7% to $31.25, Aetna (AET) has declined 2.4% to $64.11 and Cigna (CI) is off 3.5% at $77.69.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    On top of being a concern for the government, staffing and education are a big concern for our nation's largest insurers, which have angled their growth toward adding on the roughly 16 million low-income earners who will now qualify for Medicaid. WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) purchased Amerigroup for $4.5 billion, CIGNA (NYSE: CI  ) ponied up $3.8 billion for Healthspring, and Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) is buying Coventry Health Care�for $5.7 billion, all with the purpose of locking up Medicaid-based members and the government money that comes along with them. If the education side of Obamacare fails to reach these currently uninsured individuals who could qualify for this subsidized health care, these three companies are going to be negatively affected.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    The expected influx of Medicaid patients into the health care system is precisely what prompted WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) to buy Amerigroup for $4.5 billion and CIGNA (NYSE: CI  ) to purchase Healthspring for $3.8 billion. Although Medicaid patients don't drive the best margins, they are guaranteed income for health-benefits providers.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Aon Corporation(AON)

Aon Corporation provides risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resource consulting and outsourcing services primarily in the United States, the Americas, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The company?s Risk Solutions segment offers retail brokerage products and services, including affinity products, general underwriting management services, placement services, and captive management services; and advisory services to technology, financial services, agribusiness, aviation, construction, health care, and energy industries, as well as facilitates various risk management solutions for property liability, general liability, professional liability, directors' and officers' liability, workers' compensation, and various healthcare products. This segment also provides risk consulting services comprising captive management; eSolutions products that enable clients to manage risks, policies, claims, and safet y concerns through an integrated technology platform; reinsurance brokerage services, such as actuarial, enterprise risk management, catastrophe management, and rating agency advisory services; property and casualty reinsurance; and specialty lines, which include professional liability, medical malpractice, accident, life, and health, as well as capital management transaction and advisory services. Its HR Solutions segment offers human capital services in the areas of health and benefits, retirement, compensation, and strategic human capital; and benefits administration and human resource business process outsourcing services. The company was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Holly LaFon]

    Company Dell Inc. (DELL) Chesapeake Energy (CHK) DirecTV (DTV) Loews (L) Walt Disney (DIS) Aon Plc (AON) The Travelers Companies (TRV) Level 3 Communications (LVLT) FedEx (FDX) Bank of New York Mellon (BK)
    Learn more about Mason and his views on the present economy in his second-quarter letter here. See his portfolio here.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    It's been a banner year for private-platform health insurers, as some very large enterprises including�Walgreen, IBM, Time Warner,�and Home Depot�have shifted at least some of their employee base to a privatized exchange. The two names here that should benefit are Aon (NYSE: AON  ) , which runs the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange and had landed 18 clients with 5,000 or more employees as of last month, and Xerox (NYSE: XRX  ) , whose subsidiary Buck Consultants built RightOpt, an employer-based privatized exchange aimed primarily at retirees who are getting the boot from their corporate health benefits plan.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Risk manager�Aon� (NYSE: AON  ) announced yesterday its third-quarter dividend of $0.175 per share, the same rate it paid last quarter after raising the payout 11%, from $0.1575 per share.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Iamgold Corporation(IAG)

IAMGOLD Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, and production of mineral resource properties worldwide. It primarily explores for gold, silver, zinc, copper, niobium, diamonds, and other metals. The company holds interests in eight operating gold mines, a niobium producer, a diamond royalty, and exploration and development projects located in Africa and the Americas. Its advanced exploration and development projects include the Westwood project in Canada; and the Quimsacocha project, which consists of 3 mining concessions covering an aggregate area of approximately 8,030 hectares in Ecuador. The company was formerly known as IAMGOLD International African Mining Gold Corporation and changed its name to IAMGOLD Corporation in June 1997. IAMGOLD Corporation was founded in 1990 and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tom Stoukas]

    Air France led airlines lower, falling 4 percent to 7.30 euros. International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) lost 1.9 percent to 270.7 pence while Deutsche Lufthansa AG slid 2.1 percent to 15.75 euros.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Elsewhere, losers were few and far between, but many gold stocks remained under pressure as the yellow metal only managed a modest bounce after yesterday's plunge. In particular, major producer Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX  ) and gold miner IAMGOLD (NYSE: IAG  ) fell between 4% and 5%. Both companies were on the list of holdings of billionaire hedge fund investor John Paulson's gold fund as of Dec. 31, and with rumors circulating that Paulson may have to liquidate positions to handle coming redemption requests, the stocks that he reportedly owns could see further selling pressure even if gold bullion prices rise.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Principal Financial Group Inc(PFG)

Principal Financial Group, Inc. provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services worldwide. The company?s Retirement and Investor Services segment provides retirement savings and related investment products and services, including a portfolio of asset accumulation products and services primarily to small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in the United States. This segment offers products and services to businesses for defined contribution pension plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, defined benefit pension plans, nonqualified executive benefit plans, and employee stock ownership plan consulting services; and annuities, mutual funds, and bank products and services to the employees of its business customers and other individuals. Principal Financial Group?s Principal Global Investors segment offers a range of equity, fixed income, and real estate investments, as well as specialized overlay and advisory services to institutional inve stors. The company?s Principal International segment offers retirement products and services, annuities, mutual funds, institutional asset management, and life insurance accumulation products in Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, and Thailand. Principal Financial Group?s U.S. Insurance Solutions segment offers individual life insurance, as well as specialty benefits in the United States. Its individual life insurance products include universal and variable universal life insurance and traditional life insurance; and specialty benefit products comprise group dental and vision insurance, individual and group disability insurance, and group life insurance, as well as fee-for-service claims administration and wellness services. The company was founded in 1879 and is based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Old Republic International Corporation(ORI)

Old Republic International Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides various insurance and mortgage guaranty products in North America. The company operates in three segments: General Insurance, Mortgage Guaranty, and Title Insurance. The General Insurance segment provides liability insurance coverages to businesses, government, and other institutions in commercial construction, forest products, energy, general manufacturing, and financial services industries; and transportation, including trucking and general aviation industries. It provides various insurance products, such as automobile extended warranty, aviation, commercial automobile insurance, general liability, home warranty, inland marine, travel accident, and workers? compensation, as well as liability coverage for claims arising from the acts of owners or employees, and protection for the physical assets of businesses. This segment also offers financial indemnity products, such as consumer credit indemnity , errors and omissions/directors and officers, guaranteed asset protection, and surety, as well as bonds that cover the exposures for losses of monies, or debt and equity securities due to acts of employee dishonesty. The Mortgage Guaranty segment insures first mortgage loans, primarily on residential properties incorporating one-to-four family dwelling units to mortgage bankers, brokers, commercial banks, and savings institutions. The Title Insurance segment provides lenders' and owners' title insurance policies to real estate purchasers and investors based upon searches of the public records. It also provides escrow closing and construction disbursement services; and real estate information products, national default management services, and services related to real estate transfers and loan transactions. Old Republic International Corporation markets its products directly, as well as through insurance agents and brokers. The company was founded in 1887 and is based in Chi cago, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    The part I like the most is that WGL sells energy credits and carbon offsets to retail customers. The company makes good money on these elements, selling to customers who just like to feel good about how they are ��elping the environment�� WGL has a long history as an energy company and has paid a dividend for 37 years. It currently pays 4.3% annually.

    Old Republic International (ORI)

    The next of our dividend stocks is one you may have heard of: Old Republic International (ORI). Old Republic started back in 1887 and is an insurance company that offers a huge array of products. A lot of insurance products are very high margin, and Old Republic has mastered the art of selling these. Extended Automobile Warranty, Home Warranty an Travel Accident Insurance are great segments to be playing in.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FRFHF.PK)

Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) is a financial services holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is principally engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and the associated investment management. The Company�� segments consist of Insurance, Reinsurance, Insurance and Reinsurance Other, Runoff, and Corporate and Other. On December 22, 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of 75% interests in Sporting Life Inc. On August 16, 2011, the Company acquired William Ashley China Corporation. On March 24, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of The Pacific Insurance Berhad. On February 9, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of First Mercury Financial Corporation. In October 2012, its RiverStone runoff subsidiary acquired all the outstanding shares of Brit Insurance Limited.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Infinity Group]

    With 515 million shares outstanding, this equates to 33% of all shares being shorted. It should also be noted that Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings (FRFHF.PK) is holding 51.8 million BlackBerry shares. Prem Watsa stated at the annual FairFax shareholders meeting that Fairfax is holding a long position with BlackBerry and anticipates shareholder value increasing over the next 2-3 years. The cost basis for FairFax financial holdings is approximately $17 per BlackBerry share.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: ING Groep NV (ING)

ING Groep N.V. (ING), incorporated in 1991, is a global financial institution offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to meet the needs of the customers. The Company�� segments include banking and insurance. Banking segment includes retail Netherlands, retail Belgium, ING direct, retail central Europe (CE), retail Asia, commercial banking (excluding real estate), ING real estate and corporate line banking. Insurance segment includes insurance Benelux, insurance central and rest of Europe (CRE), insurance United States (US), Insurance US closed block VA, insurance Asia/Pacific, ING investment management (IM) and corporate line insurance. In February 2011, the Company divested its real estate investment operation ING Real Estate Investment Management (ING REIM) to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. In June 2011, the Company sold Clarion Partners. In July 2011, ING announced the completion of the sale of Clarion Real Estate Securities. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company divested its interests in ING Car Lease and ING IM Philippines. In February 2012, Capital One Financial Corp. acquired ING Direct business in the United States from the Company.

In June 2011, ING had completed the sale of its interest in China�� Pacific Antai Life Insurance Company Ltd. In June 2011, ING announced the completion of the sale of real estate investment manager of its United States operations, Clarion Partners, to Clarion Partners management in partnership with Lightyear Capital LLC. In October 2011, ING announced that it had completed the sale of REIM�� Asian and European operations to CBRE Group Inc. In December 2011 ING completed the sale of its Latin American pensions, life insurance and investment management operations.

Retail Netherlands

Retail Banking reaches its individual customers through Internet banking, telephone, call centers, mailings and branches. Using direct marketing methods, it is a provider of current account services an! d payments systems to provide other financial services, such as savings accounts, mortgage loans, consumer loans, credit card services, investment and insurance products. Mortgages are offered through a tied agents sale force and direct and intermediary channels. ING Bank Netherlands operates through a branch network of approximately 280 branches. It offers a range of commercial banking activities and also life and non-life insurance products. It also sells mortgages through the intermediary channel.

Retail Belgium

ING Belgium provides banking, insurance (life, non-life) and asset management products and services to meet the needs of individuals, families, companies and institutions through a network of local head offices, 773 branches and direct banking channels (automated branches, home banking services and call centers). ING Belgium also operates a second network, Record Bank, which provides a range of banking products through independent banking agents and credit products through a multitude of channels (agents, brokers, vendors).

ING Direct

ING Direct offers a range of financial products, such as savings, mortgages, retail investment products, payment accounts and consumer lending products. It operates in Canada, Spain, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom. In June 2011, ING Group announced the sale of ING Direct USA to Capital One Financial Corporation.

Retail Central Europe

Retail Central Europe has a presence in Poland, and Romania and Turkey. ING in Poland is an Internet bank. During 2011, ING Bank Turkey launched the Orange account, the variable savings product. ING in Turkey also launched a mobile phone banking application. ING Bank Romania carried out its Internet banking site, Home��ank. In September 2011, a mobile version of the Home��ank Website was introduced.

Retail Asia

Retail Banking has a presence in Asian markets of India, China and Thailand. As o! f Decembe! r 31, 2011, the Company had 44% interest in ING Vysya and 30% interest in TMB Bank in Thailand. Bank of Beijing (BoB), in which ING has the largest single interest (16.07%) is a commercial bank in China. ING provides principally risk management and retail banking to BoB.

Commercial Banking

ING Commercial Banking supports the banking needs of its corporate and institutional clients to invest both retail and commercial bank customer deposits. It is a commercial bank in its home markets in the Benelux, as well as in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to the banking services of lending, payments and cash management and treasury, it also provides solutions in other areas, including specialized and trade finance, derivatives, corporate finance, debt and equity capital markets, leasing, factoring and supply chain finance. Payments and Cash Management (PCM) and General Lending are its some of the product lines. Structured Finance (SF) is a specialist commercial lending business, providing loans to support capital intensive investments and working capital. It is managed in three groups: the Energy, Transport and Infrastructure Group; the Specialized Financing Group; and International Trade and Export Finance. Leasing and Factoring (L&F) provides financial and operating leasing services for a range of equipment, as well as receivables financing and other factoring solutions for commercial banking clients. The Financial Markets (FM) is the global business unit that manages ING�� financial markets trading and non-trading activities. FM is managed along three business lines: ALCO manages the interest rates exposures arising from the traditional banking activities, Strategic Trading Platform incorporates the primary proprietary risk taking units, and Clients and Products is the primary customer trading facilitation business line.

Real Estate

During 2011, Real Estate Finance (REF) maintained its credit portfolio. Real Estate Development (ING RED) and! Real Est! ate Investment Management (ING REIM) has a controlled wind down of activities.

Insurance Benelux

Duirng 2011, Nationale-Nederlanden introduced bank pension savings products and annuities. ING Life Belgium introduced a new Universal Life product. Nationale-Nederlanden also received a license from the Dutch Central Bank to launch a defined contribution DC company pension product PPI in Europe. NN Services introduced a processing and information technology system (business process management layer) for several legacy lines of retail Life businesses. NN Services IT manages all the closed book business of Nationale-Nederlanden. ING�� life insurance products in the Benelux consist of a range of traditional, unit-linked and variable annuity policies written for both individual and group customers. ING is also a provider of (re-insured) company pension plans in the Netherlands.

NG Benelux��non-life products, mainly in the Netherlands, include coverage for both individual and commercial/group clients for fire, motor, disability, transport and third party liability. Nationale-Nederlanden has also a central product manufacturing service for property and casualty insurance, which has developed products for ING Bank in Belgium and ING Bank in the Netherlands. ING offers a range of disability insurance products and complementary services for employers and self-employed professionals (such as dentists and general practitioners).

Insurance Central and Rest of Europe

Insurance Central and Rest of Europe has life insurance companies in Hungary, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain and Turkey. It has pension funds in Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Bulgaria, Romania and in Turkey. ING offers a range of individual endowment, unit linked, term and whole life insurance policies designed to meet specific customer needs. It also has employee benefits products, as well as pension funds, that manage individu! al retire! ment accounts for individuals. The latter comprise both mandatory and voluntary retirement savings.

Insurance United States (Excluding US Closed Block Va)

ING Insurance US offers retirement services (primarily defined contribution plans), life insurance, fixed annuities, employee benefits, mutual funds, and broker-dealer services in the United States. ING Insurance US operates four businesses: Retirement Plans, Individual Retirement, Individual Life and Employee Benefits. ING Insurance US�� Retirement Plans business is a contribution providers, which offers a range of retirement solutions to all sizes and types of employers, including businesses for-profit ranging from start-ups to large corporations, public and private school systems, higher education institutions, state and local governments, hospitals and healthcare facilities, and not-for-profit organizations. ING Insurance US�� Retirement Plans business is a provider of defined contribution (DC) retirement plans in the United States based on assets under management and administration.

Insurance US Closed Block Va

ING US Closed Block VA consists of variable annuities issued in the United States that are primarily owned by individuals and were designed to address the demand for tax-advantaged savings, retirement planning, and wealth-protection. These annuity contracts were sold in the United States, primarily through independent third party distributors, including wirehouses and securities firms, independent planners and agents and banks.

Insurance Asia/Pacific

ING Insurance Asia/Pacific (IAP) is a provider of life insurance products and services. It is a life insurer in the region, with nine life operations in eight markets. IAP has ip operations in Japan and South Korea, operates a nt business in Malaysia, and is well in China, Hong Kong, Macau, India and Thailand. In April 2011, IAP, together with Public Bank Berhad and Public Islamic Bank Berhad, launched a joint ! venture i! n Malaysia, ING PUBLIC Takaful Ehsan Berhad, which will develop Takaful insurance products. In June 2011, IAP completed the sale of its 50% interest in Pacific-Antai Life Insurance Company Limited (PALIC).

The business units of IAP offer select types of life insurance, wealth management, and retail products and services. These include annuities, endowment, disability/morbidity insurance, unit linked/universal life, whole e, participating life, group life, accident and health, term life and employee benefits. In Hong Kong non-life insurance products (including medical, motor, fire, marine, personal accident and general liability) are also offered.

Insurance Latin America

ING completed the sale of its pensions, life insurance and investment management operations on December 29, 2011. These operations were in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

ING Investment Management

ING IM is an investment manager of ING Group with activities in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. In October 2011, ING IM sold ING IM Australia. ING IM provides a range of actively-managed strategies, investment vehicles and advisory services in all major asset classes and investment styles. It delivers a range of investment strategies and services to ING�� global network of businesses and third-party clients.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

    Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James, based on valuation after the stock went over $21 recently. Stifel Nicolaus also downgraded shares to Hold from Buy. These calls are after earnings, and the stock is down about 6% so far on Friday.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    ING's (NYSE: ING  ) Latin American operations will soon be one division lighter. The company announced it reached an agreement to sell its mortgage business in Mexico to�Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico (NYSE: BSMX  ) , the local presence of Spanish financial group Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN  ) . The price was 643 million pesos ($51 million), according to Mexico City newspaper La Cronica de Hoy.


    ING is a financial services company providing service to consumers and companies around the world. The company is being forced to sell its South Korean life insurance unit by European regulators. The stock is now trading near highs for the year and looks poised to continue. Over the last four quarters, earnings have been mixed while revenues have been decreasing, however, investors in the company have been pleased with the company’s recent announcement. Relative to its peers and sector, ING has been an average year-to-date performer. Look for ING to OUTPERFORM.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: MGIC Investment Corp (MTG)

MGIC Investment Corporation (MGIC), incorporated June 21, 1984, is a holding company and through wholly owned subsidiaries is a private mortgage insurer in the United States. As of December 31, 2012, its principal mortgage insurance subsidiaries, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC) and MGIC Indemnity Corporation (MIC), were each licensed in all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. During the year ending December 31, 2012, the Company wrote new insurance in each of those jurisdictions in MGIC and/or MIC. The Company capitalized MIC to write new insurance in certain jurisdictions where MGIC no longer meets, and is unable to obtain a waiver of, those jurisdictions��minimum capital requirements. Private mortgage insurance covers losses from homeowner defaults on residential mortgage loans, reducing and, in some instances, eliminating the loss to the insured institution if the homeowner defaults.

Mortgage Insurance

Primary insurance provides mortgage default protection on individual loans and covers unpaid loan principal, delinquent interest and certain expenses associated with the default and subsequent foreclosure. Primary insurance is written on first mortgage loans secured by owner occupied single-family homes, which are one-to-four family homes and condominiums. Primary insurance is also written on first liens secured by non-owner occupied single-family homes, which are referred to in the home mortgage lending industry as investor loans, and on vacation or second homes. Primary coverage can be used on any type of residential mortgage loan instrument approved by the mortgage insurer.

When a borrower refinances a mortgage loan insured by the Company by paying it off in full with the proceeds of a new mortgage that is also insured by it, the insurance on that existing mortgage is cancelled, and insurance on the new mortgage is considered to be new primary insurance written. Therefore, continuation of its coverage fr! om a refinanced loan to a new loan results in both a cancellation of insurance and new insurance written. When a lender and borrower modify a loan rather than replace it with a new one, or enter into a new loan pursuant to a loan modification program, its insurance continues without being cancelled assuming that the Company consent to the modification or new loan.

The borrower�� mortgage loan instrument requires the borrower to pay the mortgage insurance premium. There are several payment plans available to the borrower, or lender, as the case may be. Under the monthly premium plan, the borrower or lender pays it a monthly premium payment to provide only one month of coverage. Under the annual premium plan, an annual premium is paid to it in advance, and it earns and recognizes the premium over the next 12 months of coverage, with annual renewal premiums paid in advance thereafter and earned over the subsequent 12 months of coverage. Under the single premium plan, the borrower or lender pays it a single payment covering a specified term exceeding twelve months.

Pool insurance is used as an additional credit enhancement for certain secondary market mortgage transactions. Pool insurance covers the excess of the loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which exceeds the claim payment under the primary coverage, if primary insurance is required on that mortgage loan, as well as the total loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which did not require primary insurance. Pool insurance is used as an additional credit enhancement for certain secondary market mortgage transactions. Pool insurance covers the excess of the loss on a defaulted mortgage loan, which exceeds the claim payment under the primary coverage, if primary insurance is required on that mortgage loan, as well as the total loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which did not require primary insurance. In general, the loans insured by it in Wall Street bulk transactions consisted of loans with reduced underwriting documentation; cash out! refinanc! es, which exceed the standard underwriting requirements of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) (collectively GSEs); A- loans; subprime loans, and jumbo loans.

Other Products and Services

The Company has participated in risk sharing arrangements with the GSEs and captive mortgage reinsurance arrangements with subsidiaries of certain mortgage lenders, which reinsure a portion of the risk on loans originated or serviced by the lenders, which have MGIC primary insurance. It provides information regarding captive mortgage reinsurance arrangements to the New York Department of Insurance (known as the New York Department of Financial Services), the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD). It performs contract underwriting services for lenders, in which it judges whether the data relating to the borrower and the loan contained in the lender�� mortgage loan application file comply with the lender�� loan underwriting guidelines. It also provides an interface to submit data to the automated underwriting systems of the GSEs, which independently judge the data. These services are provided for loans, which require private mortgage insurance, as well as for loans that do not require private mortgage insurance. It provides mortgage services for the mortgage finance industry, such as portfolio retention and secondary marketing of mortgages.

The Company competes with Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, PMI Mortgage Insurance Company, Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation, United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company, Radian Guaranty Inc., CMG Mortgage Insurance Company, and Essent Guaranty, Inc.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By George Putnam]

    George Putnam: Sure. Well, MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG), which insures mortgages—residential mortgages—was really hammered back in 2007, 2008, and it struggled to, sort of, dig out of the hole that it got in from all of the defaults that individual homeowners made on their mortgages.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    The Paulson story
    John Paulson made his name by making investments that gained in value when subprime mortgages crashed in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Even now, Paulson is keeping a close eye on housing, but lately, he's been playing the space from the other direction with bullish bets on mortgage insurance companies MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG  ) and Radian Group (NYSE: RDN  ) . His argument is basically that as long as the housing market has hit bottom, prospects for further losses are minimal, allowing mortgage insurers to make up for past losses.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG  ) will release its quarterly report next Tuesday, but investors haven't waited for that report to send the stock to two-year highs. As the housing market has improved, the mortgage-insurance company's prospects have followed suit, but the slow recovery in MGIC earnings are now vulnerable to a potential drop in premium revenue if rising interest rates hurt new mortgage activity.

Top 5 Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Sun Life Financial Inc.(SLF)

Sun Life Financial Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides various life and health insurance, savings, investment management, retirement, and pension products and services to individuals and corporate customers. It offers individual life insurance policies, including individual term life, universal life, critical illness, disability, accident, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance policies; and group life insurance policies. The company also provides individual health insurance, long-term care insurance, group health benefits, dental benefits, and group insurance; and various individual and group annuity, retirement, and investment income products and services, such as mutual and pooled funds, variable and fixed annuities, savings, retirement and pension plans, and education savings. In addition, it offers asset management services for corporate retirement plans, separate accounts, public or government funds, and insurance company assets to institutional clients; and advisory services to individual investors. Further, the company provides run-off reinsurance services. Sun Life Financial Inc. distributes its products through direct sales agents, independent and managing general agents, financial intermediaries, broker-dealers, banks, pension and benefit consultants, and other third-party marketing organizations. The company operates primarily in Bermuda, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, the Philippines, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Sun Life Financial Inc. was founded in 1999 and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tim Brugger]

    Initially, the deal Sun Life Financial (NYSE: SLF  ) struck in December to sell its U.S. annuity portfolio and some life insurance products for $1.35 billion to Delaware Life Holdings, a Guggenheim Partners-owned company, was scheduled to be completed by Q2 of 2013.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Sun Life Financial (NYSE: SLF) shares gained 2.47% to create a new 52-week high of $34.80 on Q3 results. Sun Life reported its Q3 operating net income from continuing operations of $422 million.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015

In the UAE, you have to consistently remind yourself that there's always the threat of a financial crisis. If a crisis does, in fact, rear its ugly head, be prepared writes Harvey Jones of The National.

You never know when you will find yourself in the middle of a financial emergency, as thousands of UAE-based expatriates, caught in the wake of the global crisis, can testify.

If you fall ill, have an accident, lose your job or suffer any crisis that threatens your income, you could suddenly find yourself unable to service your debts, and that means big trouble.

The Emirates can sometimes be an unforgiving place to run into money worries. Writing a check that bounces is still a criminal offense for expats, though many banks will try to work with a customer to solve any financial shortfalls.

When emergency strikes, however, you need backup. So what should you do?

Everybody should have a financial cushion in case something goes wrong, says Richard Taylor, a chartered financial planner with PIC Middle East. "But it is particularly important for UAE-based expats, due to the speed at which your situation can change here."

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: Pacific Continental Corporation(Ore)

Pacific Continental Corporation operates as the bank holding company for Pacific Continental Bank that provides commercial banking services primarily in Oregon and Washington. The company offers a range of banking and related services to community-based business, not-for-profits, professional service providers, business owners, and executives. It accepts a range of deposit products, including demand, checking, savings, money market, and time deposits. The company?s loan portfolio comprises secured and unsecured commercial loans for general operating purposes, acquisition of fixed assets, purchases of equipment and machinery, financing of inventory and accounts receivable, and other business purposes; small business administration loans; and permanent and construction loan finance products for commercial facilities and for pre-sold, custom, and speculative home construction. Its loan portfolio also comprises residential mortgage loans; and secured and unsecured loans to in dividuals for various purposes, such as purchases of automobiles, mobile homes, boats, and other recreational vehicles, as well as for home improvements, education, and personal investment. In addition, the company offers credit card services, merchant card payment services, and cash management products to its business customers; and online banking, safe deposit, debit and ATM cards, ACH transactions, savings bonds, cashier?s checks, travelers? checks, and notary services. As of March 30, 2010, it operated 14 banking offices in Oregon and Washington. The company was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Eugene, Oregon.

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: HDFC Bank Ltd (HDB)

HDFC Bank Limited (HDFC Bank), incorporated in August 1994, is a banking company engaged in providing a range of banking and financial services, including commercial banking and treasury operations. The Bank has overseas branch operations in Bahrain and Hong Kong. The Bank operates in four segments: treasury, which primarily consists of net interest earnings from the Bank�� investment portfolio, money market borrowing and lending, gains or losses on investment operations and on account of trading in foreign exchange and derivative contracts; retail banking, which serves retail customers through a branch network and other delivery channels; wholesale banking, which provides loans, non-fund facilities and transaction services to corporate, public sector units, government bodies, financial institutions and medium scale enterprises, and other banking business, segment includes income from para banking activities, such as credit cards, debit cards, third party product distribution, primary dealership business and the associated costs. Revenues of the retail banking segment are derived from interest earned on retail loans, net of commission (net of subvention received) paid to sales agents and interest earned from other segments for surplus funds placed with those segments, fees from services rendered, foreign exchange earnings on retail products.

Retail Banking

The Bank is a financial services provider of various deposit products, of retail loans (auto loans, personal loans, commercial vehicle loans, mortgages, business banking, loan against gold jewellery), credit cards, debit cards, depository (custody services), investment advisory, bill payments and several transactional services. Apart from its own products, the Bank distributes third party financial products, such as mutual funds and life and general insurance. As of March 31, 2012, the Bank had 2,544 branches in 1,399 Indian cities. The Bank had 8,913 automated teller machines (ATMs) during the fiscal year ended March 31,! 2012. In addition to the Bank does home loans in conjunction with HDFC Limited. Under this arrangement the Bank sells loans provided by HDFC Limited through its branches. HDFC Limited approves and disburses the loans, which are booked in their books, with the Bank receiving a sourcing fee for these loans. HDFC Limited offers the Bank an option to purchase up to 70% of the fully disbursed home loans sourced under this arrangement through either the issue of mortgage backed pass through certificates (PTCs) or by a direct assignment of loans; the balance is retained by HDFC Limited. It also distributes life, general insurance and mutual fund products through its tie-ups with insurance companies and mutual fund houses.

Wholesale Banking

The Bank provides its corporate and institutional clients a range of commercial and transactional banking products. The Bank�� commercial banking business covers the corporate sector, the emerging corporate segments and some small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Bank has a number of business groups catering to various segments of its wholesale banking customers with a range of banking services covering their working capital, term finance, trade services, cash management, foreign exchange and electronic banking requirements. The Bank�� financial institutions and government business group (FIG) offers commercial and transaction banking products to financial institutions, mutual funds, public sector undertakings, central and state government departments. The main focus for this segment is offering various deposit and transaction banking products to this segment besides offering funded, non-funded treasury and foreign exchange products.

The Bank provides its customers both working capital and term financing. The Bank�� corporate banking business includes cash management and vendor and distributor (supply chain) finance products. The Bank has a wholesale banking branch in Bahrain, a branch in Hong Kong and two representative offic! es in the! United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kenya. The branches offer the Bank�� suite of banking services including treasury and trade finance products to its corporate clients. The Bank offers wealth management products, remittance facilities and markets deposits to the non-resident Indian community from its representative offices.


The treasury group is responsible for compliance with reserve requirements and management of liquidity and interest rate risk on the Bank�� balance sheet. On the foreign exchange and derivatives front, revenues are driven primarily by spreads on customer transactions based on trade flows and customers��demonstrated hedging needs. The Bank offers Indian rupee and foreign exchange derivative products to its customers. The Bank enters into foreign exchange and derivative deals with counterparties after it has set up appropriate counterparty credit limits based on its evaluation of the ability of the counterparty to meet its obligations in the event of crystallization of the exposure. The Bank also deals in Indian rupee derivatives on its own account, including for the purpose of its own balance sheet risk management.

Other banking business

The Bank has two subsidiaries: HDFC Securities Limited (HSL) and HDB Financial Services Limited (HDBFS). HSL is primarily in the business of providing brokerage services through the Internet and other channels. As of March 31, 2012, HSL had a network of 184 branches across the country. HDBFS is a non-deposit taking non-bank finance company (NBFC). Apart from lending to individuals, it grants loans to small and medium business enterprises and micro small and medium enterprises, the principle businesses of HDBFS include loans, which offers a range of loans in the secured and unsecured loans space that fulfill the financial needs of its target segment; insurance services, HDBFS is a corporate agent for HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company and sells insurance products ,as well as products, ! such as L! oan Cover and Asset Cover, and collections-BPO services, which runs six call centres. These centres cover collection requirements at over 200 towns through its calling and field teams. As on March 31, 2012, HDBFS had 180 branches in 135 cities in order to distribute its products and services.

Top 10 Cheap Stocks For 2014: F.B.D.HLDGS ORD EUR0.60(FBH.L)

FBD Holdings plc, through its subsidiaries, primarily engages in general insurance underwriting business in Ireland and other countries in European Union. It offers various business insurance products, including shop insurance; pub insurance; office based professional insurance; manufacturers, distribution, and wholesale insurance; and restaurant, cafe, and takeaway insurance. The company also offers other business insurance products for property, business interruption, employer?s liability, public liability, products liability, money, and deterioration of food to small and medium enterprises; property insurance for commercial and private lets; medical surgery insurance; insurance for hotels, guest houses, and B&B?s; and self build insurance, as well as commercial vehicle insurance, motor fleet insurance, personal car insurance, farm insurance, and home insurance. In addition, it provides various personal finance solutions, including general insurance broking, life assur ance/pension products, broking/investment advice, installment finance, mortgage protection quotes, life and serious illness cover products, mortgage advices, and income protection solutions, as well as other financial solutions for businesses. Further, the company holds interests in various hotel and leisure properties comprising the La Cala and Sunset Beach Resorts in Spain, as well as in the FBD Hotels in Ireland. FBD Holdings plc was incorporated in 1988 and is based in Dublin, Ireland.

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: NBT Bancorp Inc.(NBTB)

NBT Bancorp Inc., a financial holding company, provides commercial banking and financial services to individuals, corporations, and municipalities in central and upstate New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, and the greater Burlington, Vermont area. The company accepts various deposit products that include demand deposit accounts, savings accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, money market deposit accounts, and certificate of deposit accounts. Its loan portfolio comprises residential real estate mortgages, commercial loans, commercial real estate loans, real estate construction and development loans, agricultural and agricultural real estate loans, consumer loans, home equity loans, and lease financing. NBT Bancorp also provides retirement plan consulting and recordkeeping services; and trust and investment, financial planning, and life insurance services, as well as enables customers to check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, view statements, apply for loans , and access various other product and service information online. As of December 31, 2010, the NBT Bank division had 86 divisional offices and 114 automated teller machines (ATMs) located primarily in central and upstate New York and Burlington, Vermont; and the Pennstar Bank division had 37 divisional offices and 50 ATMs located primarily in northeastern Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1856 and is headquartered in Norwich, New York.

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: PrivateBancorp Inc.(PVTB)

PrivateBancorp, Inc. operates as the holding company for The PrivateBank and Trust Company that provides business and personal financial services to middle-market companies and business owners, executives, entrepreneurs, and families in the United States. The company?s deposit products include checking, savings, and money market accounts; interest and non-interest bearing demand deposits; and certificates of deposit. Its loan portfolio comprises commercial loans, including lines of credit to businesses for working capital needs, term loans, and letters of credit; commercial real estate loans; loans for the construction of single-family residential properties, multi-family properties, and commercial projects; mortgage loans; and residential, home equity, and personal loans. The company also provides private banking, investment management, trust, and investment agency services to high and ultra-high net-worth clients; custody, escrow, and tax-deferred exchange services; and investment management services to individuals, families, and foundations. In addition, it invests primarily in residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized mortgage obligations. As of December 31, 2011, the company operated 18 branch locations in the Chicago market; and 10 branch locations in the Atlanta, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and St. Louis metropolitan areas, as well as 29 automated teller machines located at its banking facilities. PrivateBancorp, Inc. was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Next week investors will be waiting for several key earnings reports including�General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISRG), Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU), Nokia Corporation (NYSE: NOK), PrivateBancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: PVTB),Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    In the last several weeks, three hedge and mutual fund managers sold shares of their holdings where they own 5% or more of the company, according to GuruFocus Real Time Picks. Most of the managers made large gains on these sales, with one exception. John Paulson reduced his stake in Delphi (DLPH), Third Avenue reduced its stake in Skyline Corp. (SKY), and NWQ Managers reduced its stake in PrivateBancorp (PVTB) and Bob Evans Farms (BOBE). John Paulson and Delphi Auto Plc (DLPH)

  • [By Zacks]

    Some better-ranked Midwest banks include First Interstate Bancsystem Inc. (NASDAQ: FIBK), Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: WTFC) and PrivateBancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: PVTB). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: Cohen & Steers Quality Income Realty Fund Inc(RQI)

Cohen & Steers Quality Income Realty Fund Inc. is a closed-ended equity mutual fund launched and managed Cohen & Steers Capital Management, Inc. It invests in the public equity markets of the United States. The fund seeks to invest in growth stocks of companies operating in real estate sector. It employs fundamental analysis focusing on underlying potential for success in light of the company?s current financial condition, its industry and sector position, economic and market condition, earnings growth, current ratio of debt to capital and the quality of its management. The fund benchmarks the performance of its portfolio against the S&P 500 index and the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT index. It was previously known as Cohen & Steers Income Realty Fund Inc. Cohen & Steers Quality Income Realty Fund Inc was formed on August 22, 2001 and is domiciled in the United States.

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: Town Centre Sec(TCSC.L)

Town Centre Securities PLC, a real estate investment trust, engages in the investment, development, and trading of properties in the United Kingdom. It also provides car parking services. The company?s property portfolio includes shopping centers, retail warehouses and food stores, high street shops, offices, car parks, and residential properties located in York, BlackPool, London, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. It operates a portfolio of 4,000 spaces comprising 3 multi-storey car park sites with 2,980 spaces and approximately 1,000 spaces on surface sites in Leeds and Manchester. The company was founded in 1959 and is based in Leeds, the United Kingdom.

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: CIFC Corp (CIFC.PH)

CIFC Corp. (CIFC), formerly CIFC Deerfield Corp., is a corporate loan asset managers. As of September 30, 2011, CIFC managed $10.7 billion across 29 collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) and served more than 200 institutional investors in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. CIFC conducts asset management activities through four principal subsidiaries: CIFC Asset Management LLC, Deerfield Capital Management LLC, CypressTree Investment Management, LLC and Columbus Nova Credit Investments Management LLC. CIFC was formed by the merger of Commercial Industrial Finance Corp. and Deerfield Capital Corp. on April 13, 2011. In February 2012, the Company�� wholly owned indirect subsidiaries, DFR Middle Market Holdings Ltd. and Deerfield Capital Management LLC, completed the sale of certain non-core assets.

CIFC's primary investment objectives are to achieve the target returns marketed to investors. CIFC is a fundamentals-based manager of senior secured cor porate loans with a differentiated investment management model, management framework, processes and technology.

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: Suffolk Bancorp(SUBK)

Suffolk Bancorp operates as the holding company for Suffolk County National Bank, a national-chartered commercial bank that provides domestic, retail, and commercial banking services, as well as trust services in Suffolk County, New York. The company offers various deposit products consisting of checking accounts, savings accounts, time and savings certificates, money market accounts, negotiable-order-of-withdrawal accounts, holiday club accounts, and individual retirement accounts. It also provides various secured and unsecured loans, including commercial loans to individuals, partnerships, and corporations; agricultural loans to farmers; installment loans to finance small businesses; automobile loans; and home equity and real estate mortgage loans. In addition, the company offers safe deposit boxes, and trust and estate services; sells mutual funds and annuities; and maintains a master pension plan for self-employed individuals? participation. As of December 31, 2010, i t operated 30 full-service offices in Suffolk County, New York. Suffolk Bancorp was founded in 1890 and is headquartered in Riverhead, New York.

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: Metlife Inc (MET)

MetLife, Inc. (MetLife), incorporated on August 10, 1999, is a provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife operates in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It is organized into six segments: Insurance Products, Retirement Products, Corporate Benefit Funding and Auto & Home (collectively, U.S. Business), and Japan and Other International Regions (collectively, International). In addition, the Company reports certain of its results of operations in Corporate & Other, which includes MetLife Bank, National Association (MetLife Bank) and other business activities. U.S. Business provides insurance and financial services products, including life, dental, disability, auto and homeowner insurance, guaranteed interest and stable value products, and annuities through independent retail distribution channels, as well as at the workplace. Outside the U.S., it operates in Japan and over 50 countries within Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. MetLife is the life insurer in Mexico and also holds positions in Japan, Poland, Chile and Korea. This business provides life insurance, accident and health insurance, credit insurance, annuities, endowment and retirement and savings products to both individuals and groups. In August 2012, it acquired Reynolds Plantation. In January 2013, the Company completed the sale of MetLife Bank, N.A.'s deposit business. Effective July 25, 2013, MetLife Inc acquired Broadstone Laurel Highlands, from Alliance Residential Fund I. In September 2013, MetLife Inc and Thayer Lodging Group acquired the 365-room Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in a joint venture.

Insurance Products

The Insurance Products segment offers a range of protection products and services aimed at serving the financial needs of its customers throughout their lives. These pro! ducts are sold to individuals and corporations, as well as other institutions and their respective employees. It is organized in three businesses: Group Life, Individual Life and Non-Medical Health.

The Group Life insurance products and services include variable life, universal life, and term life products. It offer group insurance products as employer-paid benefits or as voluntary benefits where all or a portion of the premiums are paid by the employee. These group products and services also include employee paid supplemental life and are offered as standard products or may be tailored to meet specific customer needs.

The Individual Life insurance products and services include variable life, universal life, term life and whole life products. Additionally, through its broker-dealer affiliates, it offers a full range of mutual funds and other securities products. The products within both Group Life and Individual Life include Variable Life, Universal Life, Term Life and Whole Life. Variable life products provide insurance coverage through a contract that gives the policyholder the policyholder flexibility in investment choices and, depending on the product, in premium payments and coverage amounts, with certain guarantees. With variable life products, premiums and account balances can be directed by the policyholder into a variety of separate account investment options or directed to the Company�� general account. In the separate account investment options, the policyholder bears the entire risk of the investment results.

Universal life products provide insurance coverage on the same basis as variable life, except that premiums, and the resulting accumulated balances, are allocated only to the Company�� general account. Universal life products may allow the insured to increase or decrease the amount of death benefit coverage over the term of the contract and the owner to adjust the frequency and amount of premium payments.

Term life products provid! e a guara! nteed benefit upon the death of the insured for a specified time period in return for the periodic payment of premiums. Specified coverage periods range from one year to 30 years, but in no event are they longer than the period over, which premiums are paid. Death benefits may be level over the period or decreasing. Decreasing coverage is used principally to provide for loan repayment in the event of death. Premiums may be guaranteed at a level amount for the coverage period or may be non-level and non-guaranteed. Term insurance products are sometimes referred to as pure protection products, in that there are typically no savings or investment elements. Term contracts expire without value at the end of the coverage period when the insured party is still living.

Whole life products provide a guaranteed benefit upon the death of the insured in return for the periodic payment of a fixed premium over a predetermined period. Premium payments may be required for the entire life of the contract period, to a specified age or period, and may be level or change in accordance with a predetermined schedule. Whole life insurance includes policies that provide a participation feature in the form of dividends. Policyholders may receive dividends in cash or apply them to increase death benefits, increase cash values available upon surrender or reduce the premiums required to maintain the contract in-force.

The Non-Medical Health products and services include dental insurance, group short- and long-term disability, individual disability income, long-term care (LTC), critical illness and accidental death & dismemberment coverage. Other products and services include employer-sponsored auto and homeowners insurance provided through the Auto & Home segment and prepaid legal plans. The Company also sells administrative services-only (ASO) arrangements to some employers. The products in this area are Dental, Disability and Long-term Care (LTC). Dental products provide insurance and ASO plans that ass! ist emplo! yees, retirees and their families in maintaining oral health while reducing out-of-pocket expenses and providing superior customer service. Dental plans include the Preferred Dentist Program and the Dental Health Maintenance Organization. Disability products provide a benefit in the event of the disability of the insured. This benefit is in the form of monthly income paid until the insured reaches age 65. In addition to income replacement, the product may be used to provide for the payment of business overhead expenses for disabled business owners or mortgage payment protection. This is offered on both a group and individual basis. LTC products provide protection against the potentially high costs of LTC services. They generally pay benefits to insureds that need assistance with activities of daily living or have a cognitive impairment.

Retirement Products

The Retirement products segment includes a variety of variable and fixed annuities that are primarily sold to individuals and employees of corporations and other institutions. The products in this area are Variable Annuities and Fixed Annuities. Variable annuities provide for both asset accumulation and asset distribution needs. Variable annuities allow the contract holder to make deposits into various investment options in a separate account, as determined by the contract holder. The risks associated with such investment options are borne entirely by the contract holder, except where guaranteed minimum benefits are involved.

Fixed annuities provide for both asset accumulation and asset distribution needs. Fixed annuities do not allow the same investment flexibility provided by variable annuities, but provide guarantees related to the preservation of principal and interest credited.

Corporate Benefit Funding

The Corporate Benefit Funding segment includes a range of annuity and investment products, including, guaranteed interest products and other stable value products, income annuitie! s, and se! parate account contracts for the investment management of defined benefit and defined contribution plan assets. This segment also includes certain products to fund postretirement benefits and company, bank or trust owned life insurance used to finance non-qualified benefit programs for executives. The products in this area are Stable Value Products, Pensions Closeouts, Torts and Settlements, Capital Markets Investment Products and other Corporate Benefit Funding Products and Services. The Company offers general account guaranteed interest contracts, separate account guaranteed interest contracts, and similar products used to support the stable value option of defined contribution plans. It also offers private floating rate funding agreements that are used for money market funds, securities lending cash collateral portfolios and short-term investment funds.

The Company offers general account and separate account annuity products, generally in connection with the termination of defined benefit pension plans, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. It also offers partial risk transfer solutions that allow for partial transfers of pension liabilities and annuity products that include single premium buyouts. It offers strategies for complex litigation settlements, primarily structured settlement annuities. Under the Capital Markets Investment Products, the products offered include funding agreements, Federal Home Loan Bank advances and funding agreement-backed commercial paper. Under the Other Corporate Benefit Funding Products and Services, it offers specialized insurance products designed specifically to provide solutions for non-qualified benefit and retiree benefit funding purposes.

Auto & Home

The Auto & Home segment includes personal lines property and casualty insurance offered directly to employees at their employer�� worksite, as well as to individuals through a variety of retail distribution channels, including independent agents, property and casu! alty spec! ialists, direct response marketing and the individual distribution sales group. Auto & Home primarily sells auto insurance, which represented 67% of Auto & Home�� total net earned premiums in 2011. Homeowners and other insurance represented 33% of Auto & Home�� total net earned premiums in 2011. The products in this area are Auto Coverages and Homeowners and Other Coverages. Auto insurance policies provide coverage for private passenger automobiles, utility automobiles and vans, motorcycles, motor homes, antique or classic automobiles and trailers. Auto & Home offers traditional coverage, such as liability, uninsured motorist, no fault or personal injury protection, as well as collision and comprehensive. Homeowners��insurance policies provide protection for homeowners, renters, condominium owners and residential landlords against losses arising out of damage to dwellings and contents from a variety of perils, as well as coverage for liability arising from ownership or occupancy. Other insurance includes personal excess liability (protection against losses in excess of amounts covered by other liability insurance policies), and coverage for recreational vehicles and boat owners. Most of Auto & Home�� homeowners��policies are traditional insurance policies for dwellings, providing protection for loss on a replacement cost basis. These policies also provide additional coverage for reasonable, normal living expenses incurred by policyholders that have been displaced from their homes.


International provides life insurance, accident and health insurance, credit insurance, annuities, endowment and retirement & savings products to both individuals and groups. The Company focuses on markets primarily within Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It operates in international markets through subsidiaries and affiliates. The Company operates in 22 countries in Latin America, with operations in Mexico, Chile and Argentina. It operates in fou! r countri! es in Asia Pacific with operations in Korea, Hong Kong and Australia. It operates in 35 countries in Europe and the Middle East with operations in Poland, the United Kingdom, France, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as through a consolidated joint venture in India.

Corporate & Other

Corporate & Other contains the excess capital not allocated to the segments, which is invested to optimize investment spread and to fund company initiatives and various start-up and run-off entities. Mortgage products offered by MetLife Bank include forward and reverse residential mortgage loans. Residential mortgage loans are originated through MetLife Bank�� national sales force, mortgage brokers and mortgage correspondents. The residential mortgage banking activities include the origination and servicing of mortgage loans. Mortgage loans are held-for-investment or sold primarily into Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) or Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) securities. Deposit products include traditional savings accounts, money market savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs) and individual retirement accounts.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Steve Sears]

    New stocks in what Goldman calls the “Hedge Fund VIP list,”�include Actavis (ACT), Baidu (BIDU), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), Crown Castle International (CCI), Entergy Louisiana (ELB), �Equinix (EQIX), Facebook (FB), Fleetcor Technologies (FLT), W.R. Grace (GRA), MetLife (MET), Macquarie Infrastructure (MIC), Micron (MU), Time Warner Cable (TWC), and Time Warner (TWX).

  • [By Matt Koppenheffer and David Hanson]

    Despite a couple of down days for the market, insurer MetLife (NYSE: MET  ) was able to buck the trend and rise even higher today. In this video, David tells investors why the market's fears that interest rates may soon be rising didn't impact MetLife, and why the insurer's portfolio is well-suited to a higher interest-rate environment.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Next week investors will be waiting for several key earnings reports including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Nokia Corporation (NYSE: NOK), MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), and Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE: MA).

5 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2015: Aberdeen Asset(ADN.L)

Aberdeen Asset Management PLC is a publicly owned asset management holding company. The firm provides its services to governments, national pension schemes, listed investment companies, foundations and charities, private banks, and discretionary fund managers, and retail clients. The firm through its subsidiaries manages separate client focused equity, fixed income, and balanced portfolios along with pooled investment vehicles. It also manages mutual funds for its clients. The firm invests in the public equity and fixed income markets across the globe. It also invests in currency and property markets across the globe. The firm employs fundamental analysis with a bottom-up stock picking approach to create its equity portfolio. It conducts in-house research to make its investments. Aberdeen Asset Management PLC was founded in 1983 and is based in Aberdeen, United Kingdom with additional office in Greater London, United Kingdom.