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We expect property and casualty insurer AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (AXS - Analyst Report) to beat expectations when it reports fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 4, 2014.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that AXIS Capital is likely to beat earnings because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Positive Zacks ESP: Expected Surprise Prediction or Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is +1.81%. This is noteworthy and is indicative of a likely positive earnings surprise.

Zacks Rank: Note that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. The Sell-rated stocks (carrying a Zacks Rank #4 or 5) going into an earnings announcement should never be considered, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

The combination of a Zacks Rank #3 and an ESP of +1.81% makes us confident of a positive earnings beat by AXIS Capital on Feb 4.

What is Driving the Better-than-Expected Earnings?

We expect AXIS Capital’s strong operational strategies along with new business and product generation, and platform expansion to aid its bottom-line growth going forward.

AXIS Syndicate 1686, approved by the franchise board of Lloyd, marked another milestone in the expansion of AXIS Capital’s global underwriting platform. AXIS Syndicate gives AXIS Capital the access to worldwide licenses of Lloyd and an enhanced distribution network.

Lower share count due to share buybacks are expected to boost the bottom line.

Other Stocks to Consider

AXIS Capital is not the only firm expecting to outperform this earnings season. We also see likely earnings beats coming from these property and casualty insurance industry:

ProAssuarance Corporation (PRA - Analyst Report), earnings ESP of +13.59% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. (AHL - Snapshot Report), earnings ESP of +3.57% and a Zacks Rank #3.

CNA Financial Corporation (CNA - Snapshot Report), earnings ESP of +2.90% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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