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Why Hold Grade is Good for Radian Group (RDN) Stock Now

Shares of Radian Group Inc. RDN rallied 57.87% in the last one year, significantly outperforming the Zacks categorized Multi line Insurance industry’s increase of 35.53%. We expect the stock to retain this momentum owing to a number of positives.

Radian Group has put in substantial efforts to boost its mortgage insurance portfolio on the back of high volume of quality and profitable business written by the company over a considerable period of time. Such an improvement is expected to create a solid foundation for the company’s earnings in future. Notably, the Multi line insurer projects $50 billion new mortgage insurance written in 2017.

Interestingly, the company displayed an increasing trend in terms of mortgage insurance portfolio in 2016 and first quarter was no exception. Given the projected increase in persistence, the company expects insurance in force to rise in 2017.

Radian Group has been witnessing a decline in claim payments over the last few years. To that end, the company expects claims paid for full-year 2017 in the band of $300-$325 million. Therefore, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) Multi line insurer expects to see fewer claims than before, owing to the strong credit characteristics of the new loans insured.

The Radian Group also remains focused on controlling costs, facilitating margin expansion. This in turn will boost the company’s overall results, accelerating its growth.

In addition, the company’s growth initiatives continue to impress. Its efforts to further diversify the revenue stream and expand its business beyond traditional mortgage insurance are encouraging.

Escalating expenses weighing on margin expansion will however continue to play spoiler. Notably, the company expects expenses to vary between $62-$66 million, each quarter.

Nonetheless, valuation is attractive at present as the stock is currently trading at a price to book multiple of 1.21, a 5.5% discount to the industry average of 1.28, in the last one year. Besides, the company has a trailing 12-month return on equity (ROE) of 12.3%, higher than the industry’s 6.9% average. Its company’s expected long-term earnings growth is decently pegged at 7.50%.  

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks from the same space are Assurant, Inc. AIZ, Cigna Corporation CI and FBL Financial Group, Inc. FFG. Each stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see _1link">the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Assurant offers risk management solutions for housing and lifestyle markets worldwide. The company has delivered positive surprises in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 6.82%.

Cigna provides insurance plus related products and services in the United States and internationally. The company has delivered positive surprises in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 1.35%.

FBL Financial sells individual life insurance and annuity products. The company has delivered positive surprises in two of the last four quarters with an average beat of 1.98%.

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