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Travelers' Fourth-Quarter Profits Beat Estimates

Posted on 27 Jan 2009

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The biggest U.S. insurer by market value, Travelers Cos., gained the most in six weeks in New York trading after fourth-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates.

Operating earnings, which exclude some investment losses, were $1.58 a share, 12 cents better than the average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Net income fell 25 percent to $801 million, the St. Paul, Minnesota-based commercial insurer said today in a statement.

“They did pretty well,” said Paul Newsome, an analyst with Sandler O’Neill & Partners in Chicago. “You’ve got pretty good underwriting results.”

Travelers surpassed American International Group Inc. and MetLife Inc. in market value as Chief Executive Officer Jay Fishman sidestepped the mortgage-related investments that forced down competitors’ shares by more than 50 percent in the past year. Travelers invests mostly in municipal bonds and corporate debt.