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AXIS Capital (AXS) to Share More Profits, Ups Dividend by 2.4%

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In its concerted efforts to enhance shareholder value, the board of directors of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited AXS approved a 2.4% hike in its annual dividend. This marked the 17th straight year of dividend hike. With this, the payout now stands at 42 cents per share compared with the earlier payout of 41 cents per share.

Based on the stock’s Dec 3 closing price of $51.54, the new dividend will yield 3.3%, better than the industry average of 0.4%.  The company boasts one of the highest dividend yields among its peers. With 83.4 million shares outstanding at third-quarter 2020 end, this leading specialty insurer and global reinsurer aiming leadership in specialty risk will need to dish out $141.6 million quarterly. Shareholders of record on Dec 31, 2020 will receive the meatier dividend on Jan 15, 2021.

Since the company went public in 2003, it has increased dividend each year, reflecting operational excellence and its commitment to return value to its shareholders. The company’s dividend witnessed a 17-year CAGR of 11.1%.

Effective capital deployment by the company is supported by its balance sheet strength. Apart from dividend payouts, the company also buys back shares. In the first nine months of 2020, the company repurchased shares worth $8.7 million.

Building on Specialty Insurance, Reinsurance plus Accident and Health, deploying resources prudently while enhancing efficiencies and improving its portfolio mix and underwriting profitability should help the company maintain the streak.

Shares of AXIS Capital have lost 13.3% year to date compared with the industry’s decrease of 5.2%. Operational excellence and solid capital position should help shares bounce back.

The companies carries Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Recently, Assurant’s AIZ board of directors approved a 5% hike while the board of directors of American Equity AEL approved a 5% hike in dividend. The board of RLI Corp. RLI approved a special cash dividend of $1.00 per share.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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