Financial stocks were narrowly lower, with the NYSE Financial
Sector Index sinking about 0.3% and the S&P Financial 100 Index
falling almost 0.2%.
In company news, CNA Financial Corp (
) was higher Monday after the insurance carrier said it sold its
life and group insurance business to a subsidiary of Wilton Re
Holdings Ltd. for around $615 million in net proceeds.
CNA said it expected to receive a portion of the proceeds in the
form of a dividend from its former Continental Assurance Co.
immediately prior to closing. It also said anticipated net proceeds
are around $18 million more than Continental's statutory capital
and surplus at the end of the year, and expects to record an
after-tax, GAAP charge of $220 million in Q1.
Wilton Re, a privately held reinsurance firm based in Bermuda
and backed by Stone Point Capital LLC, also will assume liabilities
tied to structured-settlement annuities CNA backed through
Continental. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.
Also Monday, CNA reported Q4 net income of $221 million, or
$0.82 per share, reversing a $0.03 per share loss during the
year-ago quarter but trailing the $0.88 per share gain analysts
polled by Capital IQ were expecting. Total gross written premiums
from property and casualty operations rose 6.2% year over year to
$2.3 billion, topping expectations for around $2.06 billion in
premiums during the quarter.
CNA also declared a special dividend of $1.00 per share along
with a 25% increase in its quarterly dividend over the prior
quarter to $0.25 per share. Both payments are due out on March 12
to shareholders of record on Feb. 24.
Shares were up 7.4% at $42.62 apiece, earlier climbing to within
20 cents of its 52-week high of $42.93 a share.
In other sector news,
(-) TOFC, (-0.2%) Shareholders Friday vote for proposed merger
with Old National Bancorp (
). The $108 mln transaction still requires regulatory approvals
before an expected Q1 close. ONB shares were off 0.8% in recent
(-) NATL, (-0.7%) Agrees to issue a recommendation - including
filing a Form 14D-9 with the Securities and Exchange Commission -
to shareholders by Feb. 19 on the $28-a-share tender offer by
American Financial Group's (
) Great American Insurance Co. AFG shares were down about 0.5%.
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