3 Stocks Boosting The Insurance Industry Higher

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Two out of the three major indices traded up today The three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 18 points (0.1%) at 17,652 as of Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, 3:25 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,424 issues advancing vs. 1,602 declining with 148 unchanged.

The Insurance industry as a whole closed the day down 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.1%. Top gainers within the Insurance industry included Independence ( IHC), up 1.6%, Hallmark Financial Services ( HALL), up 2.6%, Phoenix Companies ( PNX), up 2.4%, Triple-S Management ( GTS), up 2.9% and Fidelity National Financial ( FNFV), up 1.8%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the industry higher today:

Phoenix Companies ( PNX) is one of the companies that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. Phoenix Companies was up $1.37 (2.4%) to $58.83 on light volume. Throughout the day, 11,632 shares of Phoenix Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 37,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $57.49-$58.87 after having opened the day at $57.83 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $57.46.

The Phoenix Companies, Inc., together with is subsidiaries, provides life insurance and annuity products in the United States. It operates in two segments, Life and Annuity, and Saybrus. Phoenix Companies has a market cap of $332.8 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 6.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Phoenix Companies a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Phoenix Companies as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on PNX go as follows:

  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 58.09% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 31.77% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, PNX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • PHOENIX COMPANIES INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, PHOENIX COMPANIES INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.20 versus -$26.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($10.02 versus $1.20).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 56.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$32.80 million to -$14.30 million.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, PHOENIX COMPANIES INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Phoenix Companies Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

At the close, Hallmark Financial Services ( HALL) was up $0.30 (2.6%) to $11.69 on average volume. Throughout the day, 30,767 shares of Hallmark Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 29,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $11.45-$11.91 after having opened the day at $11.45 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.39.

Hallmark Financial Services, Inc., an insurance holding company, markets, distributes, underwrites, and services property/casualty insurance products to businesses and individuals in the United States. The company operates in Standard Commercial, Specialty Commercial, and Personal segments. Hallmark Financial Services has a market cap of $218.5 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 28.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Hallmark Financial Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hallmark Financial Services as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on HALL go as follows:

  • HALL's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.23 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, HALL's share price has jumped by 27.08%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES's earnings per share declined by 43.8% 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, HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES increased its bottom line by earning $0.43 versus $0.18 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.65 versus $0.43).
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 22.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 25.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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, HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Hallmark Financial Services Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Independence ( IHC) was another company that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. Independence was up $0.22 (1.6%) to $13.98 on average volume. Throughout the day, 10,509 shares of Independence exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 12,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $13.50-$14.17 after having opened the day at $13.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.76.

Independence Holding Company provides life and health insurance products in the United States, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Independence has a market cap of $245.8 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 2.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Independence a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Independence as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on IHC go as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 29.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.64 million to $4.71 million.
  • IHC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.15 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • 41.17% is the gross profit margin for INDEPENDENCE HOLDING CO which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 3.63% trails the industry average.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 22.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • INDEPENDENCE HOLDING CO has improved earnings per share by 28.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, INDEPENDENCE HOLDING CO reported lower earnings of $0.78 versus $1.10 in the prior year.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Independence Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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