Montepelier Re Holdings The insurance and reinsurance company reported earlier this month fourth-quarter earnings of $28.5 million, or 40 cents a share, down from year-ago earnings of $41.8 million, or 63 cents. "The company has taken steps in recent months (sale of MUSIC, Torus deal) to free up capital and position itself to be able to write more property business," Sterne Agee analysts wrote in a Feb. 10 report. "However, while pricing has increased in property catastrophe lines, management has held back on deploying capacity to position for potentially better rate going forward. The company in our view continues to have flexibility for further repurchase going forward with year-end equity of $1.55 billion about $50 mm higher than the company's stated goal of maintaining at least $1.5 billion of capital." Shares of Montepelier Re Holdings was upgraded to buy from hold by TheStreet Ratings. "The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures," TheStreet Ratings wrote. "We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income." Montepelier Re Holdings has a forward P/E of 8.39; the average for reinsurance companies is 8.41. For comparison, Everest Re Group ( RE) has a lower forward P/E of 7.25; Alterra Capital Holdings' ( ALTE) forward P/E is 9.94. All five of the analysts who cover Montepelier Re Holdings rated it a hold. TheStreet Ratings gives Montepelier Re Holdings a B grade and $21.18 price target. The stock closed Friday at $18.45 and has risen 3.94% year to date.