Loews fourth-quarter profit jumps on investment income gains

(Reuters) - Loews Corp on Monday reported a near 26% jump in fourth-quarter profit, as higher premiums and a market rally at the end of last year helped the insurer earn more on its investments.

U.S. government bonds rallied at the end of last year on expectations that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates in 2024 as inflation cools and the economy slows.

Investment income for the New York-based company rose to $643 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $600 million a year earlier.

The company earns most of its revenue from its insurance unit CNA, in which it holds an about 90% stake.

CNA reported an underlying combined ratio of 91.4% in its property and casualty business, compared with 91.2% a year earlier. A ratio below 100% means an insurer earned more in premiums than it paid out in claims.

The income attributable to Loews in the reported quarter was $446 million, or $1.99 per share, up from $355 million, or $1.49 per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)