AIGshares dive on bearish note as new chief exec apologises for angry remarks

AILING US insurer AIG saw its shares plummet by over 20 per cent yesterday after a scathing analyst note, as new chief executive Robert Benmosche issued a humiliating apology for criticisms of the New York attorney general.<br /><br />The bailed-out firm saw its shares fall from $45.3 to just $36 in a few hours&rsquo; trading yesterday, after Bernstein Research suggested the stock was virtually worthless.<br /><br />Analyst Todd Bault reiterated his target price of $10, claiming the government may withdraw its lifeline support from the group once the firm is no longer deemed as posing a risk to the US economy.<br /><br />&ldquo;AIG&rsquo;s current stock price gives virtually no weight to the possibility that the common equity is worth zero,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />The note came on a bad day for Benmosche, who said he regretted criticising attorney general Andrew Cuomo during a meeting with his staff last month.<br /><br />During the closed-doors meeting, Benmosche said Cuomo didn&rsquo;t &ldquo;deserve to be in government&rdquo; and had acted like a &ldquo;criminal&rdquo; by issuing a subpoena to track down the details of bonuses that AIG paid to staff members.<br /><br />He said he was trying to bolster morale at AIG, which is wrapped in a multi-year struggle to survive and has sold off billions of dollars of assets to try to repay a giant government bailout.<br /><br />&ldquo;I was a little too aggressive in my comments, but I was responding to enormous fear on the part of many, many associates,&rdquo; he said in an interview.