Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of insurer Hartford Financial Services
So What: You want a turnaround? You've got it. After posting losses of more than $1 billion in both 2008 and 2009, the company is on pace to show its investors a nice profit for this year. The past losses were driven by a deep shade of red in Hartford's investment portfolio, so some rejiggering there, along with a turnaround in the markets, has led to big improvements. The $1.34 in per-share earnings was a drastic improvement on last year's $0.79 loss and the $0.98 per share that excludes certain one-time items came in ahead of analysts' estimates.
Now What: Beat and raise guidance. Beat and raise guidance. That simple phrase (best uttered like a chant) is like crack to Wall Street and Hartford delivered the good stuff. Not only did third quarter earnings beat expectations, but the company raised full year earnings per share guidance from a midpoint of $2.20 to $2.65. And even with today's excitement, that new guidance means that shares are currently changing hands at less than 10 times 2010 earnings.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy assures you no Wookiees were harmed in the making of this article.