John Paulson has finally had his desired impact as the Hartford Financial Group (HIG) announced that they will be winding down their annuity business, to focus on P&C Insurance, employee benefits, and their mutual fund business. The annuity business created too much stress on the Hartford as declines in the market caused extreme volatility that frankly was inappropriate for an insurer that must rely on its credit ratings. Because the stock is trading at close to 50% of book value, the company clearly was not getting credit for what they believe their Net Asset Value to be. If more participants leave the annuity business, that might make it more attractive as companies won’t be competing so hard to offer the best rates, but right now I think Hartford is making the right decision. We were short puts in some accounts, which we closed out today at a profit. If the stock pulls back a little it we might be a buyer.
INVESTING IN THE FINANCIAL MARKETS INVOLVES RISKS. OPTIONS ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS.