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Q4 Earnings Drive Insurance ETFs Higher

Sweta Killa

The insurance industry has performed strongly this reporting cycle with robust earnings from leading players. Prominent players such as Chubb Corp CB, Allstate ALL, Aflac AFL and Travelers TRV surpassed earnings and revenue estimates. MetLife MET lagged on revenues while Prudential Financial PRU missed on the bottom line (see: all the Financial ETFs here).

Insurance Earnings in Focus

MetLife, the U.S. life insurance behemoth, reported earnings of $1.35 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5 cents and improved 22% from the year-ago quarter. Revenues were flat year over year at $15.4 billion and were well below estimates of $16.3 billion. PRU, the second-largest U.S. life insurer, missed earnings estimates and beat on revenues. Earnings per share of $2.44 were well below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.88 and 9.3% lower than the year-ago earnings. Revenues of $17.78 billion surpassed the estimated $14 billion and grew 16.91% year over year.

One of the leading property and casualty insurers, Chubb outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both the top and the bottom lines by $716 million and 9 cents, respectively. Another property and casualty insurer, Allstate also topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate on earnings and revenues by 22.77% and 19.16%, respectively. On a year-over-year basis, its earnings declined 40.7% while revenues were down 5.8%.

Earnings per share of $1.02 reported by Aflac, a seller of supplement health insurance, trumped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8 cents and increased 27.5% from the year-ago quarter. Revenues rose 1.1% year over year to $5.48 billion and edged past the estimates by 0.25% (read: ETF Investing 2019: Best Ideas & Trends).

Personal property and casualty insurer, Travelers posted earnings per share of $2.13, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 15 cents but declining 6.6% year over year. Revenues grew 4.6% year over year to $7.8 billion and were ahead of the estimated $7.7 billion.

ETFs in Focus

The Q4 earnings of insurance industry players had a positive impact on the related ETFs that saw smooth trading over the past month. SPDR S&P Insurance ETF KIE and iShares U.S. Insurance ETF IAK gained more than 6% each. Both the funds have a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with a Medium risk outlook. Below, we have highlighted them in detail.

KIE

This fund follows the S&P Insurance Select Industry Index, holding 49 stocks in its basket. Each of the in-focus firms accounts for around 2% share. About 40.8% of the portfolio is allocated to property and casualty insurance, while life & health insurance accounts for 28% share. The ETF has managed $690.5 million in its asset base and trades in a good average daily volume of about 291,000 shares. The product has an expense ratio of 0.35% (read: 5 Incredible ETFs & Stocks to Buy on the Dip).

IAK

With AUM of $103.8 million, this product tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Select Insurance Index and charges 43 bps in annual fees. Volume is light, trading in roughly 13,000 shares per day. In total, the fund holds 62 securities in its basket with the in-focus six firms occupying the top eight positions and collectively making up 38% of the assets. Here also, property & casualty insurance accounts for the largest share at 46.3%, while life & health insurance and multiline insurance round off the top three with double-digit exposure each.

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SPDR S&P Insurance ETF (KIE): ETF Research Reports
 
Aflac Incorporated (AFL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
The Allstate Corporation (ALL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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