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Cigna fires back again; MassMutual eyes Oppenheimer sale; Japanese profits up


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Cigna fires back again; MassMutual eyes Oppenheimer sale; Japanese profits up

Cigna Corp. again offered a scathing response to Carl Icahn in the verbal volleying between the two over the company's pending merger with Express Scripts Holding Co., saying the activist investor is being driven by his "desire to profit off his short position in Express Scripts." Cigna shareholder Glenview Capital Management threw its weight behind the deal, saying the combined entity will save customers "billions of incremental dollars annually" and lead to "better healthcare outcomes."

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. is discussing a potential $5 billion sale of asset manager OppenheimerFunds Inc., Bloomberg News reported.

A trio of Japanese insurers reported year-over-year increases in profit for the quarter to June 30. Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. said its attributable profit was up 15.5%, reflecting increased gains on sales of securities at home and profit expansion abroad. Sompo Holdings Inc.'s quarterly profit more than doubled year over year to ¥55.51 billion from ¥27.07 billion, while Japan Post Insurance Co. Ltd. reported a 41.1% year-over-year increase in net profit.

Italy-based Unipol Gruppo SpA reported first-half consolidated net profit attributable to owners of the parent of €481.7 million, compared to a year-ago loss of €488.6 million. The result included a capital gain of €309 million from the sale of the group's investment in Popolare Vita SpA.

Watford Re Ltd., a Bermuda-based specialty insurer and reinsurer, underwrote approximately $175 million of premiums during the second quarter, up 15% compared to the prior year, Artemis reported. The combined ratio for the quarter stood at 100.6%.

Click here to read a summary of earnings reported Aug. 9 by select insurance companies covered by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Louisville, Ky.-based Humana Inc. completed the sale of the stock of wholly owned subsidiary KMG America Corp. to HC2 Holdings Inc. unit Continental General Insurance Co.

Canada-based Great-West Lifeco Inc.'s Irish Life Group Ltd. completed the acquisition of a strategic stake in Ireland-based independent financial consultancy Invesco Ltd.

AmTrust Financial Services Inc. and Maiden Holdings Ltd. extended the deadline for choosing whether to keep or discard a quota share reinsurance agreement to Jan. 31, 2019, from Sept. 30, 2018. Meanwhile, The Insurance Insider reported that Bermuda-based Maiden is preparing to drop its A.M. Best rating and dramatically scale back third-party reinsurance business, in the wake of the resignations of its CEO and CFO and a cut to its dividend amid reserve strengthening efforts.

Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. joined a restructuring support agreement related to the division of future Puerto Rico sales and use tax revenues among holders of certain senior and subordinate bonds.

Hub International Ltd. acquired the assets of South Portland, Maine-based Kilbride & Harris Insurance Services LLC.

Preliminary aggregated estimates of economic catastrophe losses in July surpass multiple billions of dollars as extended periods of below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures in several regions led to worsening drought-related and wildfire conditions, according to the latest Global Catastrophe Recap from Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Deutsche made 'oral' deal with rogue bank as 2 rivals also skirted rules: files: At least three foreign financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank AG, breached regulations requiring them to identify the people behind money transfers from a Cypriot bank notorious for catering to high-risk clients, in a practice that helped FBME Bank to launder money before authorities closed it down, documents obtained by S&P Global Market Intelligence show.

US plans to stop pharma gaming of Medicaid; China aims to expedite drug approval: The Trump administration has taken action to try to stop drugmakers from gaming the Medicaid drug rebate program; China is considering expedited approvals for 48 therapies.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Aussie banks to fix anti-fraud controls; Vietnam to limit foreign bank licenses

Europe: Deutsche Bank in spotlight over FBME transfers; UK faces '20 years of low rates'

Middle East and Africa: Gulf states making progress in Bahrain aid talks; United Arab Bank downgraded

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.84% to 28,366.62, and the Nikkei 225 declined 1.33% to 22,298.08.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.76% to 7,682.32, and the Euronext 100 was down 1.10% to 1,066.65.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

On the macro front