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Arch Capital (ACGL) Consistently Rides on Robust Premiums

Arch Capital Group Ltd. ACGL has been exhibiting an excellent track record of premium growth on the back of sustained improvement in the metric across its segments. Moreover, the company’s wide and diverse suite of product and service has been contributing to this upside.

The property and casualty (P&C) insurer has been effectively meeting its clients’ demands and needs with the help of its tailor-made products and services. Further, this will drive the company’s long-term growth, thereby enabling it to reach greater heights in the future.

Interestingly, the company’s focus on expanding its mortgage insurance business has been beneficial to its success. Further, this growth complements the P&C insurer’s strengths in the specialty insurance and reinsurance businesses.

The company’s robust inorganic portfolio through strategic acquisitions has in turn, not only helped the company widen its footprint internationally but has also added capabilities and boosted its operations. To that end, Arch Capital completed the buyout of McNeil & Co. in December 2018 wherein the insurer stands to gain from the latter’s reputation in the program space as well as its underwriting expertise and experience.

Given an improving interest rate environment, the company has been experiencing better investment results over the last several quarters. We expect this momentum to continue owing to a probable reinvestment of fixed income securities at higher available yields as well as an increase in investable assets.

Banking on better investment results and solid premiums, the company’s top line is estimated to improve in the near term. In fact, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 revenues is pegged at $5.7 billion, reflecting a 5.6% year-over-year rise.

With respect to enhancement of shareholder value, the company has been indulging in a few good shareholder-friendly moves like share buybacks and dividend payments. Such measures underscore the company’s strong liquidity position and in turn, not only retain the existing investors’ faith in the stock but also attract new ones.

Additionally, a solid capital position aids the company to protect itself from market volatility while retaining the financial strength and flexibility required to pursue new opportunities.

Shares of the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) insurer have lost 10.4% in a year’s time, slightly wider than the industry’s decline of 5.9%. We believe, the aforementioned positives will turn the stock around and drive it higher in the near term.

 

For the P&C insurer, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 earnings stands at $2.44, indicating year-over-year growth of 11.8%.

Regarding its earnings history, the company delivered positive surprises in all the trailing four reported quarters, the average being 13.29%.

Shares of the company are trading at a price-to-book multiple of 1.13, lower than the industry average of 1.30. Price to book value ratio is the best multiple for valuing life insurers because of large variations in earnings results from one quarter to the next. This ratio essentially measures a life insurer’s current market value, relative to what it would be worth if it chooses to shut down. Underpriced shares with solid fundamentals are profitable picks.

Additionally, the stock carries a favorable VGM Score of A. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum with the score being a weighted combination of all three factors. Back-tested results have shown that stocks with a VGM Score of A or B when combined with a top Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 offer best investment opportunities.

Other Stocks to Consider

Investors interested in some other top-ranked stocks from the same space can also consider Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. ARGO, Atlas Financial Holdings, Inc. AFH and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.B, each carrying a Zacks Rank of 2. You can see https://www.zacks.com/stocks/buy-list/?ADID=zp_1link&ICI... _1link">the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Argo Group underwrites specialty insurance and reinsurance products in the property and casualty markets. The company delivered positive surprises in three of the trailing four reported quarters with average beat of 13.57%.

Atlas Financial engages in underwriting commercial automobile insurance policies in the United States. The company pulled off earnings surprises in three of the previous four reported quarters, the average beat being 17.56%.

Berkshire Hathaway engages in insurance, freight rail transportation and utility businesses. The company surpassed estimates in three of the preceding four reported quarters, the average beat being 4.31%.

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