A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Amerisafe (AMSF). Shares have lost about 0.4% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.
Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Amerisafe due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.
Amerisafe Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates on Lower Expenses
Amerisafe reported fourth-quarter 2018 operating earnings per share of 91 cents, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 18.2% and were up 5.8% year over year.
Better-than-expected earnings were driven by increase in net investment income and decline in total expenses.
Quarter in Detail
Amerisafe’s operating revenues decreased 2% from the prior-year quarter to $93 million and missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.7%.
Gross written premiums in the quarter were down 4.4% year over year to $93.1 million, primarily due to lower voluntary premiums written, partly offset by increase in payroll audits.
Net investment income increased 11.2% year over year to $8 million, owing to higher yields on investment securities.
Total expenses came in at $71.4 million, down 4.5% from the year-ago quarter, thanks to lower loss and loss adjustments incurred and policyholder dividends. Net combined ratio, a measure of profitability (lower the better), was 84% compared with 85.6% in the year-ago quarter.
Amerisafe exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $34.8 million, down 13.6% from year-end 2018 levels.
As of Mar 31, 2019, total shareholders’ equity was $1.6 billion, up 6.67% year over year.
Operating return on equity was 16.9%, up 150 basis points (bps) year over year.
Book value per share as of Mar 31, 2019, was $22.33, down 0.4% year over year.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates.
Currently, Amerisafe has a subpar Growth Score of D, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with a B. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of C. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of this revision indicates a downward shift. Notably, Amerisafe has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.
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