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Prudential Posts Second Straight Loss on Strain of Low Rates

(Bloomberg) — Prudential Financial Inc. posted a second-straight quarterly loss and said it expects low interest rates will continue to weigh on results.

The life insurer posted a net loss of $2.41 billion, compared with net income of $708 million a year earlier. The loss was driven in part by a decline in the value of its derivatives holdings due to tightening credit spreads. Asset-management unit PGIM was a bright spot.

Key Insights

Prudential is looking to weather a low-interest-rate environment by repricing and pivoting to less rate-sensitive products, it said in an earnings statement Tuesday. The company cut its long-term forecast for U.S. interest rates by 50 basis points to 3.25%“We displayed resiliency amidst the effects of the pandemic and economic and market shocks while continuing to execute against our 2020 priorities with urgency,” Chief Executive Officer Charles Lowrey said in a statement. The company is on track to reach its cost-saving target of $140 million this year and is shifting its international business to higher-growth markets, he said.PGIM broke records for adjusted operating income of $324 million, and assets under management, which swelled 9% to $1.39 trillion. The division benefited from investment earnings, lower expenses, higher fees and fixed-income inflows.Prudential joins American International Group Inc. in feeling pain from the pandemic. AIG said on an earnings call earlier Tuesday that it had to pay out more death benefits due to the impact of the virus.

Market Reaction

Shares closed 1.8% lower at $63.28. They’re down 32% this year.

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Earnings per share beat forecasts. After-tax adjusted operating income was $1.85 a share, surpassing the $1.71 median estimate of 12 analysts.Prudential’s statement is here. Its presentation is here.

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