Marsh & McLennan may not be a Wall Street favorite at the moment, but Barron's says the world's largest insurance broker is worth a look for investors. Although the company has bounced back from charges of bid rigging and business steering in 2004 to boast a balance sheet with $1.1B in cash while being forecast to generate 2008 cash flow of $1.7B and revenue of $11.1B, shares have fallen to $24.30 a piece, about where they were when the scandal surfaced. That's something Barron's believes could change if CEO Michael Cherkasky succeeds in his efforts to fix the company's insurance operations; one goal is figuring out how to replace revenue that was lost by refusing payments insurance companies pay out in exchange for business. Yet, the key to a stock resurgence, according to one fund manager, is boosting margins. If the company can get margins up to the high-teens to 20% rate enjoyed by peers, from the 7% sustained in Q2, he believes shares could be worth $40. "There are more ways to win than lose at this time," he says.
Commentary: The Imminent Death of the Insurance Industry • Slowly but Surely, Recovery Begins At Marsh & McLennan
Stocks to watch: MMC. Competitors: AIG, AOC, ING, WSH. ETFs: KIE
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