On Dec 17, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd.
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
White Mountains has witnessed rising earnings estimates on the
back of solid third-quarter 2013 results and has scored strongly
with the rating agencies. Moreover, this property and casualty
insurer delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4
quarters with an average beat of 241%.
White Mountains reported third quarter non-GAAP earnings per
share at $9.20, topping the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.06 by
81.8% and the year-ago earnings of $8.07 by 14%. A lower level of
expense largely aided the outperformance.
Total expenses of White Mountains declined 7.7% year over year
due to lower loss and loss adjustment expenses, as well as lower
general and administrative expenses.
White Mountains has also strengthened its balance sheet. While
lower debt and liabilities held for sale reduced total
liabilities of White Mountains by 7.1% as at Sep 30, 2013,
healthy returns from investments aided the increase in adjusted
book value per share by 2.8% to $622 as on Sep 30, 2013.
White Mountains also scores strongly with credit rating agencies.
A.M. Best Co. has reiterated the issuer credit ratings of "bbb"
of White Mountains with stable outlook. A strong rating helps in
retaining investor confidence in the stock, along with
maintaining credit worthiness in the market
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 4.1% to $27.90
per share over the last 60 days. For 2014, the estimate was
lifted by 0.4% to $23.60 per share over the same time frame.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other property and casualty insurers that look attractive at
current levels include
Allied World Assurance Company Holdings,
Cincinnati Financial Corp
). All these stocks carry the same Zacks Rank as White
ALLIED WORLD AS (AWH): Free Stock Analysis
CINCINNATI FINL (CINF): Free Stock Analysis
WHITE MTN INS (WTM): Free Stock Analysis
ALLEGHANY CORP (Y): Free Stock Analysis
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