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First American Financial (FAF) Hits 52-Week High, Can the Run Continue?

Shares of First American Financial (FAF) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 6.4% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $63 in the previous session. First American Financial has gained 39.5% since the start of the year compared to the 17.8% move for the Zacks Finance sector and the 11% return for the Zacks Insurance - Property and Casualty industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on October 24, 2019, First American Financial reported EPS of $1.64 versus consensus estimate of $1.45 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 3.7%.

For the current fiscal year, First American Financial is expected to post earnings of $5.38 per share on $6.08 billion in revenues. This represents a 28.4% change in EPS on a 5.83% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $5.23 per share on $6.18 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -2.85% and 1.64%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

First American Financial may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

First American Financial has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and C, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 11.6X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 10.4X versus its peer group's average of 14X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, First American Financial currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if First American Financial passes the test. Thus, it seems as though First American Financial shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.

How Does First American Financial Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of First American Financial have been rising, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also looking good, including W.R. Berkley (WRB), The Allstate (ALL), and The Hanover Insurance Group (THG), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.

However, it is worth noting that the Zacks Industry Rank for this group is in the bottom half of the ranking, so it isn't all good news for First American Financial. Still, the fundamentals for First American Financial are promising, and it still has potential despite being at a 52-week high.

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First American Financial Corporation (FAF): Free Stock Analysis Report
The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. (THG): Free Stock Analysis Report
The Allstate Corporation (ALL): Free Stock Analysis Report
W.R. Berkley Corporation (WRB): Free Stock Analysis Report
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