The Allstate Corp. (ALL - Free Report) is poised for growth driven by favorable retention rate, pricing gains, accretion from acquisitions and solid capital management. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) property and casualty insurer remains promising, backed by several growth prospects.
Growth Projections: The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 earnings per share is pegged at $8.40, which translates into year-over-year growth rate of 25.2%. The consensus mark for 2019 is pegged at $8.81, reflecting growth of 4.9% year over year.
Impressive Price Performance: Shares of Allstate have increased 15.9% in a year, outperforming the industry and the S&P 500 index’s growth of 14.6% and 14.8%, respectively.
Shares Undervalued: Valuation remains attractive at current level. Looking at the company’s price-to-earnings ratio, it currently has a trailing 12-month P/E ratio of 11.1, lower than the industry range of 28.6. Undervalued shares with strong fundamentals offer best investment opportunities.
Upward Estimate Revisions: The stock has witnessed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year and 2019 earnings being revised 3.3% and 5% upward, respectively, over the last 30 days.
Positive Earnings Surprise History: The company has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last four quarters with an average beat of 58.04%.
Growth Drivers in Place
Allstate continues to benefit from strong market position and accretion from acquisition of SquareTrade and Arity. The company remains focused on implementing pricing and other actions to continue increasing returns and more importantly, improving profitability.
The company’s Property-Liability Segment which contributes majority of its revenues continues to be profitable owing to pricing discipline and strong claims management. It is also benefiting from past acquisitions and growth in emerging businesses as reflected by consistent increase in earned premium for the past many years. The trend continued in 2017 which observed an increase of 3% in net written premium.
We expect the segment to continue adding to its top line given a number of strategic initiatives taken for growth. These include product enhancements, revenue diversification from the acquisition of SquareTrade, and changes in business mix to focus on those that command high return on equity.
After suffering from declining income in its investment portfolio for the past several years, due to market volatility and low interest rates, the company is gradually gaining ground. Net investment income rose 11.8% in 2017, reflecting higher performance-based results and stable income from market-based portfolios. We anticipate further improvement in investment income with an increase in interest rates.
A strong capital position aids the company to return value to shareholders via dividend hikes and buybacks. Earlier this month, Allstate increased quarterly dividend by 24.3%. Its current dividend yield of 1.6% is considerably higher than 0.5% for the industry.
Other Stocks to Consider
Investors interested in the insurance industry can also look at NMI Holdings Inc. (NMIH - Free Report) , Infinity Property and Casualty Corporation (IPCC - Free Report) and The Progressive Corporation (PGR - Free Report) for consideration.
NMI Holdings provides private mortgage guaranty insurance services in the United States. The company came up with an 85.1% earnings surprise last quarter. The stock sports a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Infinity Property and Casualty provides personal automobile insurance products in the United States. Last quarter, the company delivered a positive surprise of 262.25%. The stock carries a Zacks Rank of 1
Progressive Corporation is a leading independent agency writer of private passenger auto coverage, and the market share leader for the motorcycle products. The company pulled off a 2.60% earnings surprise in the preceding quarter. The stock is a Zacks #2 Ranked player.
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