The following ratings' changes were generated on September 22.
HCC Insurance Holding
has been upgraded from hold to buy. HCC Insurance Holdings, together with its subsidiaries, provides property and casualty, surety, group life, accident, and health insurance coverage, and related agency and reinsurance brokerage services to commercial customers and individuals. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, relatively strong performance when compared with the
during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow
HCC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.14 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
HCC, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared with the industry average of 10.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenue slightly dropped by 0.1%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
Compared with where it was trading a year ago, HCC's share price has not changed very much due to the relatively weak year-over-year performance of the overall market, the company's stagnant earnings and other mixed results. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.