On Jun 2, 2014, shares of
The Allstate Corporation
) scaled a new 52-week high of $58.88. About 2.4 million shares
exchanged hands in the last trading session, closing at $58.67. The
momentum was driven by earnings strength, continued focus on
enhancement of shareholders' value and strong scores from rating
agencies. The 1-year return from the stock came in at 21.6%, which
was ahead of the S&P's return of 18.03%.
With respect to earnings performance, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)
property and casualty insurer delivered positive surprise in the
last four quarters, with an average beat of 16.09%.
Total debt to capital ratio improved to 21.9% at March end from
22.4% at 2013 end, primarily driven by appreciated equity, which
reflects strengthening of balance sheet. Operating return on equity
improved to 14.4% from 11.9% in the year-ago quarter.
The company has also been consolidating its business portfolio to
enhance its operational results. In April, Allstate divested
Lincoln Benefit Life Company to Resolution Life Holdings, Inc. in
its efforts to lower exposure to interest rates and spread-based
businesses. It also inked a deal to vend Sterling Collision
Centers, Inc. to Service King Collision Repair Centers.
With respect to increasing its shareholders value, Allstate
increased its quarterly dividend as well as approved a share
buyback program. In February, the board incresaed the quarterly
dividend by 12% to 28 cents per share. The annualized
dividend of $1.12 yields 1.9%. In addition, the board also approved
a new buyback program worth $2.5 billion, the largest one since
In the last quarter, Allstate bought back about $348 million
shares and an additional $750 million shares under an accelerated
share repurchase agreement with
) in Mar 2014. Allstate has $1.65 million available for repurchases
under the current authorization.
Steady operational performance by Allstate helped the Zacks
Consensus Estimate to move north in the last 30 days. The Zacks
Consensus Estimate for 2014 is currently pegged at $5.15 for 2014,
after increasing 2.2% as 12 of 17 estimates revised higher. The
same for 2015 increased 0.4% as 5 of 17 estimates moved north over
the same time frame. The expected long term growth rate for the
stock is 9%.
Other Stocks to Consider
Some better-ranked property and casualty insurers worth considering
W.R. Berkley Corp.
AmTrust Financial Services, Inc
). Both these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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ALLSTATE CORP (ALL): Free Stock Analysis Report
BERKLEY (WR) CP (WRB): Free Stock Analysis
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AMTRUST FIN SVC (AFSI): Free Stock Analysis
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