ACE Limited Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE) will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. ACE is a global provider of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance products to individuals and businesses.

ACE Limited Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of $1.83 per share, a decline of 10.7% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from $1.95. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It also has dropped from $1.91 during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 11.8% versus last year to $6.87.

Past Earnings Performance: The company has beaten estimates the last four quarters and is coming off a quarter where it topped forecasts by 43 cents, reporting net income of $2.22 per share against a mean estimate of profit of $1.79 per share.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $3.65 billion in revenue this quarter, a rise of 6.7% from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $15.48 billion for the year, a rise of 12.9% from last year’s revenue of $13.71 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 14 analysts rating it as a buy, one rating it as a sell and two rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, the company swung to a loss of $31 million (9 cents a share) from a profit of $675 million ($1.97) a year earlier, but beat analyst expectations. Revenue rose 10.4% to $4.29 billion from $3.89 billion.

Key Stats:

ACE’s loss in the latest quarter followed profits in the previous three quarters. The company reported a profit of $607 million in the second quarter, a profit of $259 million in the first and a profit of $1 billion in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

The company’s revenue has risen for two straight quarters. In the second quarter, the figure rose 13.1%.

Competitors to Watch: ACE Limited (NYSE:AEX), XL Group plc (NYSE:XL), Allied World Assurance Co Hldgs., AG. (NYSE:AWH), HCC Insurance Hldgs., Inc. (NYSE:HCC), Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL), American Intl. Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG), American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) and Aspen Insurance Hldgs. Ltd. (NYSE:AHL).

Stock Price Performance: During November 25, 2011 to January 25, 2012, the stock price had risen $7.17 (11.1%) from $64.50 to $71.67. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between March 23, 2011 and April 4, 2011 when shares rose for nine-straight days, rising 9% (+$5.43) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between April 11, 2011 and April 20, 2011 when shares fell for eight-straight days, falling 3.5% (-$2.26) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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