The Hartford (HIG) Hits 52-Week High, Can the Run Continue?
Have you been paying attention to shares of The Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 4.7% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $54.95 in the previous session. The Hartford Financial Services Group has gained 23.6% since the start of the year compared to the 11.2% move for the Zacks Finance sector and the 11.7% return for the Zacks Insurance – Multi line 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 May 1, 2019, The Hartford reported EPS of $1.39 versus consensus estimate of $1.24.
For the current fiscal year, The Hartford is expected to post earnings of $5.12 per share on $20.22 billion in revenues. This represents a 18.24% change in EPS on a 6.04% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $5.46 per share on $21.49 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 6.74% and 6.28%, respectively.
The Hartford 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 has run ahead of itself.
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.
The Hartford has a Value Score of A. The stock’s Growth and Momentum Scores are B and D, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.
In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 10.7X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 9.5X versus its peer group’s average of 9.6X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.13. This isn’t enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.
We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, The Hartford currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.
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 The Hartford meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though The Hartford shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.
How Does The Hartford Stack Up to the Competition?
Shares of The Hartford 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 Prudential Public Limited (PUK), American International Group (AIG), and Kemper (KMPR), 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.
The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 4% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for The Hartford, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation.
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The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (HIG): Free Stock Analysis Report
Kemper Corporation (KMPR): Free Stock Analysis Report
American International Group, Inc. (AIG): Free Stock Analysis Report
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