On Jul 3, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
Assured Guaranty Ltd.
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Assured Guaranty witnessed positive earnings surprise in the
last 4 quarters, with an average beat of 38.51%. In fact, the
company generated an astounding 86.11% surprise in the first
quarter of 2013.
Even in the second quarter of 2013, Assured Guaranty is
expected to grow 15.34% year over year, with the Zacks Consensus
Estimate of 73 cents. Moreover, all three analysts covering the
stock raised their estimates for the company's 2013 earnings in
the last 60 days. As a result, Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013
earnings per share stands at $3.44, up 22.42% over 2012.
Moreover, the cash balance of Assured Guaranty will get a
significant boost from the receipt of a $105 million cash
settlement from Flagstar Bank for breach of representations and
warranties (R&W) in insured residential mortgage-backed
securities (RMBS). Assured Guaranty's cash balance was $125
million as of Mar 31, 2013.
Further, the strong financial position of Assurance Guaranty
prompted the board to increase its share buyback program by $115
million in May 2013. This took the total authorization under the
buyback program to almost $200 million.
Besides share repurchases, Assured Guaranty also hikes its
dividend to share more profit with shareholders. On Feb 7, 2013,
the board of directors approved an 11% hike in its quarterly
dividend taking the amount to 10 cents per share from 9 cents
Other Stocks to Consider
Other multi-line insurance companies worth considering are
Enstar Group Limited
). All these companies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
ASSURED GUARNTY (AGO): Free Stock Analysis
ASSURANT INC (AIZ): Free Stock Analysis
AXA SA -SP ADR (AXAHY): Get Free Report
ENSTAR GROUP LT (ESGR): Free Stock Analysis
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