EMC Insurance Group Stock Downgraded (EMCI)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- EMC Insurance Group (Nasdaq: EMCI) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. 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 and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EMCI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • EMCI's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.09 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • EMC INSURANCE GROUP INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, EMC INSURANCE GROUP INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.16 versus $2.40 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.60 versus -$0.16).
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market, EMC INSURANCE GROUP INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

EMC Insurance Group Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides property and casualty insurance, and reinsurance products in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Property and Casualty Insurance, and Reinsurance. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.4, below the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 20.6 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. EMC Insurance Group has a market cap of $246.8 million and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are down 6.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full EMC Insurance Group Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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