Equity hedges bolstered Axa through Covid crisis

French insurer Axa’s first half earnings got a boost from a portfolio of equity derivatives it put in place prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

Over the six months to end-June, equity, credit, foreign exchange and interest rate hedges gained €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) in value versus the year-ago half, contributing €425 million to net income. Over H1 2019, a fall in the fair value of derivatives cost the insurer €789 million.

Axa took steps to minimise the effect of changes in

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