Treasury Exits AIG, but the Smell Lingers


Stocks are up nicely this morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 gaining 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively, as of 10:15 a.m. EST.

Fiscal-cliff watch
After several weeks of depressing headlines, the tide may have turned with regard to negotiations on the fiscal cliff. President Obama met with Republican House Speaker John Boehner over the weekend. The best sign that the two factions are now serious about putting aside their differences and making some progress? Both sides agreed to keep the content of their discussions private. It turns out that posturing for the benefit of the media and publicly deriding your opponents' position doesn't foster the most cooperative negotiating environment. To keep up on this topic and, specifically, its impact on investors, be sure to check out our latest fiscal-cliff coverage.

Value play
Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury launched a public offering for its 15.8% stake in American International Group . More than four years into the government's $182 billion rescue, I believe AIG remains an overlooked value play. The shares trade at less than half their tangible book value, while management continues to unlock the value of the company's assets. Just this past Sunday, the company finalized the sale of 90% of a noncore aircraft-leasing business for $5 billion.

As Motley Fool financials analyst Matt Koppenheffer wrote recently: "The heaping of negative publicity the company's taken over multiple years has cast a pall over the stock, and it currently trades at a very low valuation -- one that probably discounts in many downside scenarios and provides serious returns potential in upside scenarios." To read Matt's comprehensive assessment of the upside -- and risks -- of AIG shares, click here to request his premium report, which includes a full year of ongoing updates.

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Alex Dumortier, CFA has no positions in the stocks mentioned above; you can follow him @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool owns shares of American International Group and has the following options: long JAN 2014 $25.00 calls on American International Group. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend American International Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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