Breaking News

Russell 2000 Small-Stock Index Falls 10% From Record Closing High in March

Hartford Rallies on Capital Gain From Life-Unit Sale

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) advanced the most on the 22-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Insurance Index after the firm agreed to sell a life unit to Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU)

Hartford rose 0.7 percent to $19.44 at 4 p.m. in New York and has climbed 20 percent this year. The insurer will get a statutory capital benefit of about $1.5 billion in the deal, more than the $1.1 billion expected by Randy Binner, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. The sum includes a $615 million cash payment, according to a statement yesterday from Hartford, which is based in the Connecticut city of the same name.

Chief Executive Officer Liam McGee is divesting units and focusing on property-casualty coverage, such as commercial insurance and auto policies. McGee, 58, reached deals this year to sell assets including the Woodbury Financial Services broker- dealer and a retirement-plans business.

“HIG shares are likely the bigger beneficiary, given a total of $2.2 billion of freed-up capital from this and the retirement plans and Woodbury transactions that could be used for highly accretive share buybacks and debt pay-downs,” Binner said in a note today, using Hartford’s ticker symbol.

Prudential, the second-largest U.S. life insurer, slid 0.6 percent to $54.51. The Newark, New Jersey-based company has gained 8.8 percent this year.

Binner has an outperform rating on both Hartford and Prudential.

To contact the reporter on this story: Susanna Pak in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.