French Insurer AXA Looks to Divest US Assets, CINF Ignores Fiscal Cliff: Financial Business Update

France’s largest insurer, Axa (AXAHF.PK)(AXAHY.PK), searches for buyers for life insurance assets in the United States which could be worth a minimum of $500 million, according to knowledgeable sources, who added that the firm is being advised by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) on the potential sales, among which include remnants of the Mony Group business that Axa purchased in 2004. Axa’s other American operations include  the investment manager AllianceBerstein Holding (NYSE:AB) and Axa Equitable Life Insurance Co.

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Forget the fiscal cliff (or at least part of it), Chief Executive Steve Johnston of Cincinnati Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CINF) seems to say, as he reported that his company will not allow the expected year-end increase in the dividend tax rate to affect the way executives see their dividend payments to shareholders. His company has raised its dividend for 52 straight years. At the NASDAQ OMX Investor Program, Johnston told investors that the possibility of dividend tax rates to far excess the current 15 percent rate is not a factor in its payment policy, adding that “We have paid dividends through a variety of different cycles of tax regimes and we feel that it has worked well in all tax regimes. We’ll keep a close eye on it, but we feel confident in our dividend strategy through all types of cycles.”

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