Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CINFIN admits defeat on Fifth Third

In my first post on Fifth Third I noted that Cincinnati Financial (a well run insurance company) had a massive holding in 53 during its great run up. They retained the holding as the stock fell from $60 to $10.

Guess what - they sold half today - and the explanation makes no sense. They want to reduce their exposure to low-dividend stocks.

What is remarkable about the sale is that they are selling 480 million in stock after the price collapse - and they still have to pay 120 million in capital gains tax. That is reflective of how good a stock 53 was before it became bad...

And having to pay 120 million in capital gains tax is a high quality problem - but it would have been a higher quality problem to have paid 600 million in tax a few years ago!

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