Assured Guaranty Ltd Stock Downgraded (AGO)

Editor's Note: 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.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Assured Guaranty (NYSE: AGO) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AGO's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.17 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • The gross profit margin for ASSURED GUARANTY LTD is rather high; currently it is at 58.50%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, AGO's net profit margin of 41.50% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 81.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $761.15 million to $142.00 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ASSURED GUARANTY LTD underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
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Assured Guaranty Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides credit protection products to public finance, infrastructure, and structured finance markets primarily in the United States, Europe, and Australia. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Assured Guaranty has a market cap of $2.62 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 2.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Assured Guaranty Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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