Axis Capital Holdings Ltd (AXS): Today's Featured Insurance Winner

Axis Capital Holdings ( AXS) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.9%. By the end of trading, Axis Capital Holdings rose 42 cents (1.2%) to $34.42 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.1 million shares of Axis Capital Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 887,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $34.06-$34.46 after having opened the day at $34.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), up 8.1%, Allstate ( ALL), up 4%, Endurance Specialty Holdings ( ENH), up 3.8%, and Maiden Holdings ( MHLD), up 3.4%.

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, provides various insurance and reinsurance products to insureds and reinsureds worldwide. The company operates in two segments, Insurance and Reinsurance. Axis Capital Holdings has a market cap of $4.42 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.7, below the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 8.4 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Axis Capital Holdings a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Axis Capital Holdings as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front, Prudential Financial ( PRU), down 10.1%, Phoenix Companies ( PNX), down 9%, Radian Group ( RDN), down 7.6%, and Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), down 6.5%, were all losers within the insurance industry with American International Group ( AIG) being today's insurance industry loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the insurance industry could consider KBW Insurance ETF ( KIE) while those bearish on the insurance industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).
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