Does anybody know what's the real problem with this stock? Obviously, I'm not asking the board or the management (do they ever visit this bb?) because they have long demonstrated their inability to manage this Company. Someone said once that Aetna is a sleeping giant. I say it's a chained colossus. I can't wait to hear the excuses at the imminent shareholders meeting. Your thoughts, please. I am determined (and many folks around me) to sell at a loss and NEVER invest in this poor performer.
Just thought that you might like to know: The reference to AET as "The Sleeping Giant" goes back to the late 1950s. The reference was to a great and well-respected company that had greater potential. It did awaken and established itself as a company that attained prominence and respect. It was loved by its agents and policyholders as a company that "was there" for them in claim situations. AET was a company that employees and agents were proud to represent-and growth resulted. Of course, it was still a small company as measured in terms of today's dollar. A dollar in 1960 would buy what roughly cost $6 today. Seems to me that AET has gone from a "Sleeping Giant" to a "Stumbling Giant that is Awake." In the late 80s or early 90s, Mr. Compton introduced QFR (Quick-Flexible and Right-these were some keys to success). It got to be something of a joke around AET. And then millions were spent on training employees on AMP (Aetna Management Process) a system that was more process than management (my view.) I'm not venting-just providing a bit of history to the "Sleeping Giant" reference in 889. If I'm wrong in my views, I'd be willing fly to Hartford and apologize in person. Time will tell. I welcome financial results that will change my views. But, as a loyal long-time stockholder and observer, AET stock must hit $150 to justify my loyalty and restore my confidence as a stockholder. But, unlike some, I give AET high marks for ethics and claim service. Will someone prove my views wrong? I hope so!
You might like to read my several messages regarding AET's stock-performance (or lack of ) history. I, too, want to know the problem. You certainly don't detect it in all of the positive rhetoric in the 1998 annual report. This is getting really old, year after year, after year. I place the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the do-nothing board who let Mr. Lynn (former chairman) and Mr. Compton have their way with our money. Maybe Mr. Huber can turn things around, but it is not evident to me that he can; just another "big spender" as I see things now. It's almost with shame that I admit to being a long-term AET shareholder. A classic case of misplaced loyalty and trust. I'll tell you about the upcoming annual meeting. Lots of nothing other than legal formalities. Then Mr. Huber will spar with the idiotic two or three gadflies that will show up. Lots of employee and stockholder time will be wasted. I hope I am wrong-that would be a pleasure. I would love to have to eat my words and issue an apology for my views. I doubt if AET monitors this MB. If so, they pay no attention (arrogance blinds). Sure would like to hear (oops, make that see) something positive that would build credibility and confidence on Wall Street. Any other views?
Aetna had every opportunity to own the industry... but the real problems started with Compton.... He began by treating the employees like liabilities... I speak from experience I worked there for 18 years... I saw small raises, because others weren't being compensated as highly (I'd thought that my past compensation was based on performance not what they paid others). That was followed up by quarterly meetings where the unit as a whole was repeatably told, "you think you can do better, then leave... you're lucky to have a job". I don't care if management thinks that way, but don't rub it in my face... I chose to leave, as did many of the best... and they were right you can do better... Unfortunately the same message seems to be directed at the customers now... You need customers to succeed and buying them back as they leave is the wrong way to grow the ranks... Huber has done some work turning around the employee situation, but his recent blunder with the CA case was a step in the wrong direction (he recognized that at least)... Based on earnings the price of the stock seems about right in a market where almost everything seems overpriced...
As I have said before, the opportunity in this stock is in trading... I bought back my July 70 puts monday for 1 5/8's having sold them at $4.... and sold off a good bit of my stock at 82+ thru 84 5/16.... started buying back at 80 and change... but not with the intention of holding... good luck