Making steady progressions so far in 2014, shares of
FBL Financial Group Inc.
) 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
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
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
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. (
), Lincoln National Corp. (
) and Symetra Financial Corp. (
), all of which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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