(By Balachander) Property insurer Travelers Companies Inc.
) reported a drop in quarterly earnings, citing higher catastrophe losses.
Operating earnings were $278 million or $0.72 per share for the fourth quarter, down from $609 million or $1.48 per share in the comparable period of last year. Net earnings declined 51 percent to $304 million.
Revenue rose 2 percent to $6.48 billion. Net written premiums also increased 2 percent to $5.34 billion due to renewal rate gains across all segments, the company noted.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected earnings of 14 cents per share on revenue of $5.79 billion.
Catastrophe losses, including storm Sandy, were $689 million after tax for the quarter, compared with $68 million after tax in the year-ago quarter.
The company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.46 per common share, payable March 29, 2013, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 8, 2013.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $55.86 to $76.67, ended at $76.31 on Friday.