Stocks finished slightly higher today after the FOMC minutes showed a Fed divided over whether to hike interest rates.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The S&P 500 gained 0.2% to 2,182.22 today, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 21.92 points, or 0.1%, to18,573.94. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.03% to 5,228.66.
Deutsche Bank’s Alan Ruskin urges investors to watch to Fed Governor Bill Dudley, who said a September rate hike is possible, not the minutes:
The stand-out of the FOMC minutes headlines is just how split the Fed seemed to be at the July meeting. They seemed divided on inflation risks; financial risks as they relate to low rates; and international risks. If the Fed was split along traditional dovish and hawkish lines, then the appropriate path forward is to simply go reread what a solid dove like Dudley said yesterday. I strongly suspect that Dudley’s comments yesterday are a much more up to date view of the center of gravity at the Fed, not least because the FOMC in July did not have the last July payroll number or the latest financial market price action, including a recent new all-time equity high. In sum, my read of the FOMC headlines (only) are they read somewhat more dovish than the lead we have had from Fed officials recently, most obviously Dudley. I think Dudley could not have been clearer on the mkt being mispriced on Fed rate risks. If you take the FOMC minute headlines at face value, the sli ghtly softer 2yr yield that followed the minutes is the correct response. However, I expect the rates/FX market will go back to focusing primarily on the latest read from Dudley. In retrospect Dudley may have decided to talk yesterday specifically to get away from the message of a divided and potentially less than coherent Fed that the minutes provide. In sum, no reason to run with USD weakness after the minutes.
Top 10 Insurance Companies To Own In Right Now: 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.
- [By Reuters]
Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images NEW YORK — Walgreen is moving 120,000 employees to a private health insurance exchange from coverage provided directly from carriers, the company will announce Wednesday. The pharmacy chain will join 17 other large employers on the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange as part of a growing movement to offer employees fixed dollar amounts to purchase their own plans on such exchanges. The end-cost to employees depends on the plan chosen, but they typically get more options than under traditional arrangements. Private exchanges mimic the coverage mandated as part of the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment in the public exchanges starts Oct. 1. “What happens to employer contributions over time? Will they put in as much as they put in the past? These are unanswered questions but potential negatives,” says Paul Fronstin, a senior research associate with the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The benefit to Walgreen and other employers is unknown at this point, as their cost-savings aren’t clear. Of the 180,000 Walgreen (WAG) employees eligible for health care insurance, 120,000 opted for coverage for themselves and 40,000 family members. Another 60,000 employees, many of them working part-time, weren’t eligible for health insurance. Aon Hewitt (AON) says other participants in its program include retailer Sears Holding (SHLD) and Darden Restaurants (DRI). These new additions raise enrollment to 330,000 from 100,000 last year, and Aon Hewitt estimates enrollment will jump to 600,000 next year, a fivefold increase from 2012. By 2017, nearly 20 percent of employees nationwide could get their health insurance through a private exchange, according to Accenture Research (ACN). A recent report by the National Business Group on Health said that 30 percent of large employers are considering moving active employees to exchanges by 2015. Other major providers of private exchanges include Mercer, a division of Marsh & Mc
- [By Javier Hasse]
In other news, Aon plc Class A Ordinary Shares (UK) (NYSE: AON) boosted its quarterly dividend from $0.30 per share to $0.33 per share, and McGraw Hill Financial Inc (NYSE: MHFI) said it would sell its unit J.D. Power to investment firm XIO Group for $1.1 billion.
Top 10 Insurance Companies To Own In Right Now: American International Group Inc.(AIG)
American International Group, Inc. is an international insurance organization. The company operates property and casualty insurance networks worldwide and conducts activities in the U.S. life insurance and retirement services industry. It also involves in commercial aircraft leasing and residential mortgage guaranty insurance businesses. The company, through Chartis Inc., provides various property and casualty insurance products under commercial and consumer categories worldwide. These products include surplus lines, executive liability/directors? and officers? liability, employment practices, excess casualty, and travel/assistance lines. American International Group, through SunAmerica Financial Group, offers a suite of life insurance and retirement products and services, including term life, universal life, accident and health, fixed and variable deferred annuities, fixed payout annuities, mutual funds, and financial planning products and services to individuals and grou ps in the United States. The company, through International Lease Finance Corporation, operates as an aircraft lessor that acquires commercial jet aircraft from various manufacturers and other parties, and leases those aircraft to airlines worldwide. It also sells aircraft from its fleet to other leasing companies, financial services companies, and airlines, as well as provides management services to third-party owners of aircraft portfolios. American International Group, through United Guaranty Corporation, issues residential mortgage guaranty insurance that covers mortgage lenders from the first loss for credit defaults on high loan-to-value conventional first-lien mortgages for the purchase or refinance of one- to four-family residences in the U.S. and internationally. The company was founded in 1967 and is based in New York, New York.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Citigroup’s Todd Bault and Erik Bass argue that “there are likely more good things that can happen compared to bad” for American International Group (AIG). They explain:
- [By Diane Alter]
The last time a Dow shake-up caused such a stir was in April 2004, when AT&T (NYSE: T), Eastman Kodak (currently in bankruptcy proceedings), and International Paper Co. (NYSE: IP) were removed and replaced with American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).
- [By David Sterman]
My favorite insurers: AIG (NYSE: AIG) (which I discussed a few months ago), Protective Life (NYSE: PL) and Reinsurance Group of America (NYSE: RGA).
Top Consumer Companies To Watch In Right Now: 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.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Clinton 15 stock basket (DBUSCLNT): UnitedHealth Group (UNH), Humana (HUM), McKesson (MCK), Aecom (ACM), Quanta Services (PWR), ExxonMobil (XOM), Alcoa (AA), NextEra Energy (NEE), Cree (CREE), First Solar (FSLR), Facebook (FB), Netflix (NFLX), Prudential Financial (PRU), Citigroup (C), Union Pacific (UNP).
Top 10 Insurance Companies To Own In Right Now: 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.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
The twenty stocks in Worth’s basket are: Ameriprise Financial (AMP) Bank of America, Banner (BANR), Citigroup, Citizens Financial Group (CFG), East West Bancorp (EWBC), First NBC Bank Holding (FNBC), HFF (HF), KeyCorp(KEY), Legacy Texas Financial Group (LTXB), Lincoln National (LNC), Morgan Stanley, Old National Bancorp (ONB), PacWest Bancorp (PACW), PNC Financial Services Group (PNC), Principal Financial Group (PFG), Stifel Financial (SF), SVB Financial Group (SIVB), TCF Financial (TCB), and Wells Fargo.