On Mar 21, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
Arch Capital Group Ltd.
to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Arch Capital has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the
back of strong fourth-quarter 2014 results. Moreover, this property
and casualty insurer delivered positive earnings surprises in the
last four quarters with an average beat of 12.7%.
On Feb 10, Arch Capital reported operating income of $1.15 per
share in the fourth quarter that outperformed the Zacks Consensus
Estimate of $1.06 by 8.5% and also improved year over year by 2.7%.
The impressive performance was largely backed by solid underwriting
results in Insurance segment.
Net premiums written grew by 7.5% due to improvement in the
insurance and mortgage businesses that more than offset a decline
in reinsurance net writings.
During 2014, Arch Capital made a number of strategic alliances
which helped the company to expand its global footprint. These
included acquisition of Arch Mortgage Insurance Company in Jan
2014, which enabled the company to enter the U.S. mortgage
The takeover also made it possible for the company to serve
banks and other lenders nationwide, including existing credit union
customers. Additionally, the company acquired the mortgage
insurance operating platform of PMI, and 100% of the capital stock
of PMI Mortgage Assurance Co. The company's solid liquidity
cushions its expansion initiatives.
Arch Capital also strengthened its balance sheet as it exited 2014.
Total assets increased 12.5% along with a 14.5% rise in book value
and 14.6% improvement in the annualized return on equity. These
help the company return more profit to its shareholders.
Riding on the strength of solid fourth-quarter performance Arch
Capital has been witnessing a rise in the Zacks Consensus Estimate
over the last 60 days. For 2015, the Zacks Consensus Estimate
increased by 3.7% to $3.90 as 8 out of 11 estimates moved north.
For 2016, it again rose 2% to $4.08 as 6 out of 11 estimates moved
north. Long-term growth is targeted at 6.20%.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other property and casualty insurers that have the same Zacks Rank
as Arch Capital are Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, AG
, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
and Fidelity National Financial, Inc.
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