Prudential Halves Dividend After Third-Quarter Loss (Update1)

By Andrew Frye
Bloomberg News
November 11, 2008

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Prudential Financial Inc., the second-biggest U.S. life insurer, halved its annual dividend after posting a third-quarter loss.

The payment of 58 cents a share will be payable Dec. 19 to stockholders of record on Nov. 24, the Newark, New Jersey-based company said today in a statement on Business Wire.

Prudential joins life insurers including Principal Financial Group Inc. and Genworth Financial Inc. in cutting payments to shareholders as declines in investment holdings erode capital. Prudential last month halted share buybacks and posted a net third-quarter loss of $166 million.

``The next 12 to 18 months will bring continued asset deterioration'' for U.S. life insurers, said Christopher Neczypor, an analyst with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., as he downgraded companies including Prudential before the dividend cut was announced.

The insurer declined $3.34, or 11 percent today, to $27.61 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading and has plunged 70 percent this year.

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