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Hartford Financial slides to a 1Q loss

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. slid to a loss in the first quarter, as the company booked hefty one-time charges related to hedging.

The company on Monday reported a loss of $241 million, or 58 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31. That compares with net income of $96 million, or 18 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Hartford Financial reported several charges in the latest quarter, including a $541 million, after-tax charge due to expanded hedging-related costs, and a $138 million loss on extinguishment of debt.

The company's core earnings rose 7 percent to $456 million, or 92 cents per share. The analysts' consensus forecast was 82 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Earned premiums slipped to $3.25 billion from $3.44 billion a year earlier.

Earnings at Hartford's Property and Casualty commercial segment climbed 38 percent to $224 million, while the consumer markets segment was down 28 percent to $73 million.

Meanwhile catastrophe-related losses in the quarter totaled $21 million, down from $46 million a year earlier.

Hartford Financial Services, based in Hartford, Conn., is focusing on property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds, and has been streamlining its business. In January it completed the sale of its Retirement Plans and Individual Life businesses.

Shares closed up 9 cents at $27.21. The stock lost 31 cents to $26.90 in after-market trading.