We’re going to end this one at a dozen, cousin. Leaving aside a few new and oddball names, by Tuesday of next week virtually everyone will have reported. So, after I get back from Bermuda, I will finish this series up.
Bermuda? Business only. Going to hit about a dozen companies in two days with one of my favorite P&C analysts, Harry Fong of Calyon. I hope there are a decent number of insurance only buy-side analysts along for the ride. They make grilling the management teams so much fun.
As an aside, the last time I was in Bermuda was after Wilma. I was traveling with Bill Wilt of Morgan Stanley (another good analyst). Because of a glitch, only seven buy-side analysts analysts were on the trip, but four were “insurance only.” Between us and Bill, we got a lot done. The meetings were free-form, with a lot of good give and take.
But the night before the meetings started, I had just gotten to my hotel, and I was hungry. The hotel bar was the only thing open, so I went down with my computer to get a burger or something. While sitting there, waiting for my food to come, I work on a RealMoney article. A fellow that I have never met walks up to me and says, “You’re David Merkel; what are you doing here?” I am floored; I ask him how he knew me, and he said that I wrote for RealMoney. Amazing what that little picture will do.
He explains to me that he is there for the Bermuda tour. I tell him that I am glad he is there for the Morgan Stanley tour. He looks at me puzzled and says he is there for the Lehman tour. The Lehman tour is well planned… too well planned. 24 analysts in all. Whereas we got the give and take, they got the canned presentations. Oh well.
Wait, this was supposed to be about earnings. We have only two companies. AIG beat by a healthy amount on both the top and bottom lines. Whether out of hedge fund mischief, MR Greenberg selling out of spite, or that the buy-side had gotten ahead of the sell side because of prior good earnings this quarter, AIG stock traded down in the after hours. Hallmark Financial Services, primarily a personal lines insurer, met estimates. Nothing amazing one way or another.