Willis Group Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Insurer Willis Group Holdings (NYS: WSH) needs to put in a claim for losses today as high as 13%. The stock finally settled in at a mere 9% decline after the company reported third-quarter earnings this morning.

So what: Revenue for the quarter was $762 million and resulted in earnings per share of $0.41. It was a miss and a beat, as the Street was looking for $764.2 million in sales and $0.37 per share in earnings.

Now what: The company's forward-looking guidance is what's spooking investors, though, as the company sees full-year earnings per share in the range of $2.70 to $2.80 while analysts' consensus calls for $2.87. Despite the soft guidance, Barclays went ahead and upgraded the stock from equal weight to overweight while boosting its price target from $39 to $48. Barclays noted that property and casualty prices should improve, and the company sports a more attractive valuation than its peers.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributorEvan Niuholds no position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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