On May 13, 2013, shares of
AXIS Capital Holdings Limited
) hit a 52-week high of $45.77. The property and casualty insurer
reported a strong first quarter, which included a 85.7% positive
AXIS CAP HLDGS (AXS): Free Stock Analysis
HILLTOP HLDGS (HTH): Free Stock Analysis
MONTPELIER RE (MRH): Free Stock Analysis
PLATINUM UNDRWT (PTP): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
On Apr 25, 2013, AXIS Capital reported first-quarter 2013 net
operating income of $1.92 per share, which breezed past the Zacks
Consensus Estimate. Earnings surged 79% year over year.
Improvement in top line driven by higher premiums and net
realized investment gains aided the solid numbers. The quarter
marked the third consecutive quarter of positive surprise with an
average beat of nearly 71%.
Underwriting performance of AXIS Capital befitted from the
absence of any major catastrophe events in the first quarter.
Underwriting income increased nearly threefold year over year to
$170.8 million, while combined ratio improved 1180 basis points.
Additionally, Fitch Ratings reiterated the Issuer Default Rating
(IDR) of A and senior debt rating of 'A-' of AXIS Capital.
Concurrently, the rating agency affirmed Insurer Financial
Strength (IFS) ratings of AXIS Capital's operating subsidiaries
at 'A+.' Outlook remains stable.
Valuation for AXIS Capital looks attractive. The shares are
trading at a discount to the peer group average both on a
price-to-book basis (7.3% discount to peer group) and on a
forward price-to-earnings basis (36.8% discount to peer group)
with return on equity higher than the peer group average (27.2%
higher than the peer group average). The year-to-date return from
the stock is 31.4%, much above S&P's return of 14.6%.
AXIS Capital presently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Property and casualty insurers like
Hilltop Holdings Inc
Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd
Platinum Underwriters Holdings Ltd.
) among others carry the same Zacks Rank and appear