This column was originally published on RealMoney on Sept. 19 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.One way to get better selling prices is to sidestep the competition. You can sell boom boxes, MP3 players and TVs, competing directly with Wal-Mart ( WMT) and Best Buy ( BBY), or you can sell high-end customized entertainment systems and avoid competing head-on with the big boys. Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corp. ( PHLY) is in the insurance business which, heaven knows, has its share of big players. It largely avoids direct competition, serving such niche markets as professional liability insurance for accountants and lawyers, boat dealers, bowling centers, camp operators, homeowner associations, religious organizations and specialty properties like hospitals, hotels and nursing homes. There are few substitutes for its niche products, and it can generally charge good rates because it isn't competing head-on with major insurance companies. The bottom line: The company is doing well and its P/E is a reasonable 14. The stock is currently trading around $37, a tad less than its 52-week high of $37.64, which it hit earlier this month. Let's look at how two guru strategies evaluate this well-run niche player.
Philly's weighted relative strength (the stock's price performance compared with the overall market over the past year), 85, is above the strategy's minimum of 80. In its industry, 24 companies have a relative strength above 80, which shows the sector is attractive to investors. Philly has a return on investment of 22%, well above the strategy's minimum of 17%. The founding family, who still runs the business, has about a 20% ownership interest; the O'Neil strategy likes insider ownership to be at least 15%. Philly nicely meets the strategy's benchmarks.