3 Insurance Stocks Driving The 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.

All three major indices traded up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 9 points (0.1%) at 17,695 as of Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, 3:25 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,959 issues advancing vs. 1,061 declining with 155 unchanged.

The Insurance industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.1%. Top gainers within the Insurance industry included Unico American ( UNAM), up 1.9%, First Acceptance ( FAC), up 3.9%, Kingstone Companies ( KINS), up 1.9%, CNinsure ( CISG), up 2.0% and State Auto Financial ( STFC), up 2.3%.

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

State Auto Financial ( STFC) is one of the companies that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. State Auto Financial was up $0.47 (2.3%) to $20.66 on light volume. Throughout the day, 11,147 shares of State Auto Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 31,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $20.01-$20.76 after having opened the day at $20.06 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.19.

State Auto Financial Corporation, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in writing personal, business, and specialty insurance products. The company operates through four segments: Personal insurance, Business insurance, Specialty insurance, and Investment operations. State Auto Financial has a market cap of $833.7 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 4.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate State Auto Financial 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 State Auto Financial as a buy.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on STFC go as follows:

  • STFC, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 22.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • STATE AUTO FINANCIAL CORP's earnings per share declined by 37.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, STATE AUTO FINANCIAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.49 versus $0.25 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 15.4% in earnings ($1.26 versus $1.49).
  • In its most recent trading session, STFC has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • 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 35.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $18.50 million to $11.90 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: State Auto Financial 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, CNinsure ( CISG) was up $0.10 (2.0%) to $5.08 on light volume. Throughout the day, 20,229 shares of CNinsure exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 88,400 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $4.93-$5.09 after having opened the day at $4.96 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $4.98.

CNinsure Inc. distributes insurance products in the People's Republic of China. The company operates in three segments: Property and Casualty, Life, and Claims Adjusting. CNinsure has a market cap of $249.7 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 17.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates CNinsure a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate 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 CNinsure as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on CISG go as follows:

  • 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 158.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.45 million to $8.91 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 22.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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. Looking ahead, our view is that this company's fundamentals will not have much impact in either direction, allowing the stock to generally move up or down based on the push and pull of the broad market.
  • 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, CNINSURE INC -ADS's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for CNINSURE INC -ADS is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 27.55%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 10.84% is above that of the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: CNinsure 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.

Kingstone Companies ( KINS) was another company that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. Kingstone Companies was up $0.16 (1.9%) to $8.63 on light volume. Throughout the day, 7,013 shares of Kingstone Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 20,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $8.38-$8.63 after having opened the day at $8.38 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.47.

Kingstone Companies, Inc., through its subsidiary, Kingstone Insurance Company, underwrites property and casualty insurance products to small businesses and individuals in New York. Kingstone Companies has a market cap of $62.3 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 16.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Kingstone Companies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kingstone Companies as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KINS go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 22.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 41.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • KINS has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 800.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 64.35% 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, KINS should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • KINGSTONE COS 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, KINGSTONE COS INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.51 versus $0.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.68 versus $0.51).
  • 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 1892.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.07 million to $1.36 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Kingstone 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.

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.

More from Markets

Inside Carnival's Mind Blowing New Horizon Cruise Ship (Video)

Inside Carnival's Mind Blowing New Horizon Cruise Ship (Video)

Jim Cramer: The 10-Year Yield Could Go to 2.75%

Jim Cramer: The 10-Year Yield Could Go to 2.75%

Oil Slumps, Gas Spikes Ahead of Holiday Weekend; Assessing the Chipmakers--ICYMI

Oil Slumps, Gas Spikes Ahead of Holiday Weekend; Assessing the Chipmakers--ICYMI

Week Ahead: Wall Street Looks to Jobs Report as North Korea Meeting Less Certain

Week Ahead: Wall Street Looks to Jobs Report as North Korea Meeting Less Certain

Dow and S&P 500 Decline, Energy Shares Fall as U.S. Crude Oil Slides 4%

Dow and S&P 500 Decline, Energy Shares Fall as U.S. Crude Oil Slides 4%