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One of the big stories last week was the group of hedge funds dropping or reducing their holdings in American International Group (NYSE: AIG ) . And though there are some analysts who say the insurer is past its recovery point, and that shares accurately reflect the current operations' value, there are some who believe there's more to gain by sticking with AIG. Let's explore three reasons the insurer's shares still have some momentum behind them, and how you can ride along with them.
No. 1: Growth
Not only has AIG been cutting back on legacy issues and cutting costs, the insurer has been growing its operations. With big investments in China and other emerging markets, along with reentry into mortgage guaranty operations, the insurer is well positioned to grow revenue over the coming quarters.
But the company doesn't just have revenue growth to boast about, it's share price also has room to grow. With the company trading at a 31.2% discount to book value, the upside for investors is clear as the stock price moves closer to the true value of the business. This has been one of the prevalent supporting reasons for investment theses from big names like Bruce Berkowitz. As a value investor, Berkowitz was drawn to the discount that AIG was trading at, with confidence that the share price would catch up in the near future.
No. 2: Dividend
Since the insurer shrugged off the remaining vestiges of governmental control, investors have been wondering when they would see a bit of returns in the form of a dividend. We got our answer in the first-quarter's earnings call, when CEO Benmosche noted that the company had other priorities like liabilities management that came before any capital disbursements. But also in that call, there was a sense that the company had made a lot of progress on its priorities -- and with a dividend next in line, that could mean investors may be rewarded by the end of the year.
Once the company begins to distribute to shareholders, expect to see more people flock to the stock, driving its price higher and giving you more reason to celebrate for being a long-term investor.
No. 3: Share buybacks
Again, we heard in the first-quarter call that share buybacks were in the same category as dividends. But the same anticipation holds true for repurchases. Some analysts have estimated that the company will buyback $5 billion in shares, taking its share count down by 30%. That's a huge figure that could be way off, but even as an estimate, it should be a welcomed scenario by current investors.
Keep on keepin' on
If you currently invest in AIG, there are plenty of reasons to hold onto you position. And if you're new to the stock, it's not too late to join in. Though there were some big-name players who decided it was right to move on, as a Foolish long-term investor, make sure you keep track of why you invested in the first place, how the company has changed, and if your investment thesis holds true.
At the end of last year, AIG was the favorite stock among hedge fund managers. Have they identified the next big multi-bagger, or are the risks facing the insurance giant still too great? In The Motley Fool's premium report on AIG, Financials Bureau Chief Matt Koppenheffer breaks down the key issues that you need to know about if you want to successfully invest in this stock. Simply click here now to claim your copy, and you'll also receive a full year of key updates and expert analysis as news continues to develop.