Market So Bad, Even Ex-Spitzer Target Stocks Close Much Lower (NYSE, AIG, JNS, MMC, MER)

March 10, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

By now you have heard news of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s involvement in a prostitution ring.  So much for crime and ethics fighters being immune from temptation.  But what we wanted to see was if this helped some of the old Eliot Spitzer target company, and shockingly this news did not even help these companies close in positive territory or even lend much aid from a bear bite.

Our apologies for not being able to include the full list because it was much more extensive than this.  Below is how these major former target companies closed, and they all closed down with a weak market: 

  • NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX) wasn’t a target itself, but Dick Grasso was over the pay package.  Shares closed down some 5% at $57.40, a new 52-week low and under the old $59.40 to $101.00 trading range.
  • American International Group (NYSE: AIG) just probably saw the odds of an increased quasi-return of Hank Greenberg, who has already expressed an interest in getting back in. AIG shares closed down over 2% at $41.95, also under the 52-week trading range of $42.14 to $72.97.
  • Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC) fell under the insurance rebating issues, and it has never really recovered.  Marsh-Mac shares closed down 1.75% at $24.66, although that is not a 52-week low.
  • Janus (NYSE: JNS) was part of the market timing scandal brought on by Spitzer.  Shares closed down 1% at $21.88, also not a 52-week low.
  • Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) was part of the Wall Street research settlement, although that was a much larger group of companies than many other industry complaints.  Merrill Lynch shares closed down 5% at $42.84, under its 52-week trading range of $44.30 to $95.00.

Spitzer was not a great loved brother on Wall Street despite his actions cleaning up many business practices in various industries.  A better market or a decent day may have helped these stocks close higher.  This is just more reminder that we are in a bear market. 
Jon C. Ogg
March 10, 2008