The John Alden Scare Is `A Gift'

What happened to John Alden Financial (JA) on Mar. 31 was a classic case of panic. Investors headed for the exits when the group-life and group-health insurer announced that it was restating fourth-quarter results and would miss the Street's first-quarter earnings forecast because of an unexpected jump in claims. In fact, the stock started to weaken the afternoon of Mar. 30, after John Alden officials called some analysts to inform them--in confidence--of the changes. The next day, the stock tumbled 38%, from 29 5/8 to 18 1/2. On Apr. 5, John Alden closed at 18 3/4.

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