ACE Limited (ACE) has been on an uptrend since the onset of the fourth quarter, reflecting investors’ enthusiasm about its developments so far. Share price escalated 8.3% from Oct 1, 2013 to close at $101.79 yesterday.
Among others, ACE announced the launch of ACE Global Export Protection in Continental Europe, including Central and Eastern Europe, in a bid to further widen its product portfolio.
This new product from ACE is likely to support the casualty needs of middle-market businesses. The timing for the launch seems perfect given that several European mid-sized companies are now expanding in emerging economies.
ACE’s Global Export Protection proposition will provide customized export liability coverage solutions. However, the coverage will be provided only to those businesses who generate less than or equal to €1 billion of total revenues. Few other larger companies will also be provided coverage subject to situations.
Earlier ACE expanded its offering to the offshore oil and gas sector by launching new insurance solution for suppliers and contractors.
These new product launches are expected to drive top line growth, which continues to surpass the Zacks Consensus Estimate, besides strengthening ACE’s product suite.
With respect to earnings performance, ACE Limited delivered positive earnings surprises in the last 4 quarter with an average beat of 13.6%.
Recently, the board of Directors of ACE Limited announced its intention to boost its dividend. The board of directors will propose a 24% increase in quarterly dividend. Moreover, the board of ACE Limited also approved a buyback program, authorizing the company to repurchase $2 billion worth of shares through Dec 31, 2014. ACE Limited eyes repurchase of $1.5 billion worth of shares by 2014-end.
These positives led this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock to witness a rising trend in its estimates. The Zacks Consensus Estimate moved north by 4.7% to $8.90 per share over the last 60 days, as most of the estimates were revised upward. For 2014, the same soared 1.7% to $8.34 per share as most of the estimates were revised higher over the same time frame.
Some other stocks worth considering in the property and casualty insurance industry include Hallmark Financial Services Inc. (HALL), Alleghany Corp. (Y) and Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF). All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).