Alarming sign of things to come? Probably. Specifically, we refer to the market's general expectation that financial and insurance firms will/must have access to TARP to survive. Genworth, being only the latest firm to fail to qualify for TARP funds, has taken it on the chin as a result:
Genworth Financial Inc., the Virginia-based seller of life insurance and mortgage coverage, plunged after failing to qualify for a capital injection from the U.S. Treasury.
The insurer slipped 78 cents, or 28 percent, to $1.97 at 9:31 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Genworth, which has reported three straight quarterly losses, has plummeted 91 percent in 12 months.
Genworth abandoned its request for capital from the Troubled Asset Relief Program on April 9, a day after Treasury said some life insurers were eligible for U.S. funds. The insurer has canceled the dividend and cut 1,000 jobs, or about 14 percent of the workforce, after declining investments and a spike in claims tied to mortgage defaults drained capital.
Are we the only ones worried that the only firms viewed to be even marginally viable in the industry are increasingly those eligible for the crutch of government largess? Has this become the key equity price determinant for the country's public firms?
Perhaps now the right move is to insist from the outset that you need none. That might actually be a step in the right direction.
Genworth Plunges on Failure to Qualify for U.S. Aid [Bloomberg]