On Feb 19, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
ACE LIMITED (ACE): Free Stock Analysis Report
AMTRUST FIN SVC (AFSI): Free Stock Analysis
NAVIGATORS GRP (NAVG): Free Stock Analysis
RLI CORP (RLI): Free Stock Analysis Report
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Why the Upgrade?
ACE Limited has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the
back of sturdy fourth-quarter 2013 results. Moreover, this
well-known property and casualty insurer delivered positive
earnings surprises in the last 4 quarters with an average beat of
nearly 16%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this
stock is 10%.
ACE Limited reported its fourth-quarter results on Jan 28.
Non-GAAP earnings per share came in at $2.39, surpassing the
Zacks Consensus Estimate by 19.5% and the year-ago earnings by
Solid underwriting performances aided the better-than-expected
results. Absence of any significant cat activities boosted the
upside. Premium revenues witnessed improvement globally. Results
also gained from positive prior-year reserve development. ACE
Limited continues to benefit from better commercial P&C
pricing environment in the U.S., enjoying another quarter of rate
Full-year earnings results also surpassed expectation. ACE
Limited posted record earnings of $9.35 per share which climbed
22.2% year over year and exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by
4.3%. Earnings comfortably surpassed the company-provided
guidance of $8.65-$8.90 per share.
In addition, ACE Limited remains committed toward returning value
to its shareholders. The board approved a 24% increase in
quarterly dividend and a new share repurchase authorization of $2
billion shares through Dec 31, 2014. ACE Limited eyes repurchase
of $1.5 billion worth of shares by 2014-end.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 increased 3.3% to $8.66 per
share as most of the estimates were revised higher over the last
30 days. For 2015, one-third of the estimates were revised higher
over the same time frame, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by
2.5% to $9.09 per share.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other players in the property and casualty industry, which look
attractive at current levels, include
AmTrust Financial Services, Inc
Navigators Group Inc
). All these stocks carry the same Zacks Rank as ACE Limited.