FBL Financial Reaches New 52-Week High Post Q2 Earnings - Analyst Blog

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Making steady progressions so far in 2014, shares of FBL Financial Group Inc. ( FFG ) grasped a new 52-week high of $47.47 on Aug 27. Notably, this life insurer stock has risen 5.4% since the beginning of 2014.

Yesterday's closing price represents a robust six-month return of about 10.9% against a return of 7.9% clocked by the S&P 500 index. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months stands at approximately 35.7K.

Further, the stock price appreciated about 8.5% alone after the company reported second-quarter 2014 results at the end of July. Second-quarter earnings of $1.05 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9.4% and the year-ago quarter figure by 7.1%.

The improved market performance of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock was driven by its strong competitive strength in the Farm Bureau niche market. The company also delivered positive earnings surprises in three of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 9.5%.

Rationale

The consistent stock price appreciation following the company's second-quarter earnings release on Jul 31 indicates improved product revenues, particularly experiencing strong growth in annuity premiums.

Moreover, FBL Financial's sound financial position and nominal risk on leverage are impressive. Although investment yields are still sluggish, investment income is witnessing improvement due to higher average invested assets in the investment portfolio, 96% of which were investment grade securities at Jun 2014-end. This reflects prudent enterprise and risk management.

While a healthy capital and balance sheet position enhances FBL Financial's book value and aids efficient capital deployment, strong expense management boosts operating leverage. Overall, these compelling factors and progressive growth outlook have been able to retain investors' interest in the stock.

Meanwhile, some better-ranked life insurance stocks include Fortegra Financial Corp. ( FRF ), Lincoln National Corp. ( LNC ) and Symetra Financial Corp. ( SYA ), all of which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).


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LINCOLN NATL-IN (LNC): Free Stock Analysis Report

FBL FINL GRP-A (FFG): Free Stock Analysis Report

FORTEGA FIN CP (FRF): Free Stock Analysis Report

SYMETRA FINL CP (SYA): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Business , Earnings , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: LNC , FFG , FRF , SYA

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