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Friday, September 18, 2009

Saint Petersburg - now and then

During World War II, Leningrad (Saint Petersburg now) was besieged by Nazi Germany and co-belligerent Finland. The siege lasted 872 days from September 1941 to January 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of major cities in modern history. It isolated the city from most supplies except those provided through the Road of Life across Lake Ladoga, and more than a million civilians died, mainly from starvation. Many others were eventually evacuated or escaped by themselves, so the city became largely depopulated. For the heroic resistance of the city and tenacity of the survivors of the Siege, in 1945 Leningrad became the first city in the Soviet Union awarded the title Hero City. In October 1946 some former Finnish territories along the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland captured in the Winter War and Continuation War were transferred from Leningrad Oblast to Leningrad and divided into Sestroretsky District and Kurortny District, including the town of Terijoki.

Latest Update :-

NEW YORK (The Street) -- Insurance stocks are the second-most volatile of any industry after banking shares, ensuring there's still money to be made on prudent picks.'s recommended insurance-stock portfolio from five weeks ago, based on price-to-book value, has surged 50%, compared with a 4.2% gain in the S&P 500 and a 7% increase in the benchmark index's insurance subset. There are still opportunities to be had, as the economy rebounds, pushing up premiums, and as insurers restock capital, giving them a cushion. (Price-to-book value is calculated by taking a company's share price and dividing it by book value per share. Book value is the net asset value of a company, measured by total assets minus intangible assets (patents, goodwill) and liabilities.
Insurers' shares rise and fall frequently, as seen by their so-called beta value of 1.49 versus the S&P 500. Only banking stocks, such as Citigroup and Bank of America, are higher, at 1.51. Industrial companies, represented by General Electric and Boeing, have a beta of 1.08, and consumer staples, which include Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola, are at 0.53.
The star insurance performer was the Phoenix Cos., up 80% over five weeks. PMI Group rose 77%, Conseco increased 76% and Radian Group jumped 75%. Since June 24, Radian has soared almost five-fold.

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