Shares of Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV) dropped 1.8% in morning trading Thursday, enough to pace the Dow Jones Industrial Average's decliners, after analyst Joshua Shanker at BofA Securities swung to bearish from bullish on the insurer, citing decelerating commercial property and casualty pricing and eroding underwriting margins in personal auto and homeowners insurance. The double downgrade comes two days after the Travelers reported a big second-quarter profit beat (link), as investment income tripled. BofA's Shanker cut his rating to underperform from buy, while trimming his stock price target to $161 from $171. He also reduced his 2022 earnings estimate to a Wall Street low $11.80 from $12.30, given the pricing and margins weakness. "While pricing increases can improve margins in 2022...we expect these improvements to level off in 2023," Shanker wrote in a note to clients. The stock has gained 6.2% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Insurance ETF (KIE) has climbed 12.9% and the Dow has advanced 13.4%.
-Tomi Kilgore; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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