Reviewing Argo Group International (NYSE:ARGO) & Investors Title (NYSE:ITIC)

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Argo Group International (NYSE:ARGO) and Investors Title (NASDAQ:ITIC) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, valuation, risk, dividends, institutional ownership, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Argo Group International and Investors Title’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Argo Group International $1.97 billion 0.61 -$8.40 million ($0.90) -38.52
Investors Title $183.50 million 1.42 $31.46 million N/A N/A

Investors Title has lower revenue, but higher earnings than Argo Group International.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

90.3% of Argo Group International shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 43.1% of Investors Title shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.4% of Argo Group International shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 26.4% of Investors Title shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Argo Group International and Investors Title, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Argo Group International 0 0 1 0 3.00
Investors Title 0 0 0 0 N/A

Argo Group International currently has a consensus target price of $41.00, suggesting a potential upside of 18.26%. Given Argo Group International’s higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe Argo Group International is more favorable than Investors Title.

Dividends

Argo Group International pays an annual dividend of $1.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. Investors Title pays an annual dividend of $1.76 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.3%. Argo Group International pays out -137.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Argo Group International has increased its dividend for 1 consecutive years and Investors Title has increased its dividend for 1 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares Argo Group International and Investors Title’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Argo Group International -8.23% -4.61% -0.78%
Investors Title 13.93% 13.94% 10.08%

Risk and Volatility

Argo Group International has a beta of 0.92, meaning that its stock price is 8% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Investors Title has a beta of 0.7, meaning that its stock price is 30% less volatile than the S&P 500.

About Argo Group International

Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. underwrites specialty insurance and reinsurance products in the property and casualty markets. The company operates in two segments, U.S. Operations and International Operations. The U.S. Operations segment underwrites primary and excess specialty casualty, and commercial multi-peril, as well as contract, product, environmental, and auto liability products; and general, auto, management, errors and omissions, and public entity liability, as well as workers compensation, and surety and inland marine risks. This segment distributes its products through a network of wholesale agents and brokers. Its International Operations segment offers coverage for long-tail casualty and general liability; property catastrophe reinsurance, and direct and facultative excess insurance; professional indemnity, directors and officer's liability, and medical malpractice; and North American and international binders, and residential collateral protection for lending institutions. This segment also underwrites risks of general liability, international casualty, and motor treaties; and personal accident, aviation, cargo, yachts, and onshore and offshore marine insurance. This segment distributes its products through brokers and third-party intermediaries. Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. is headquartered in Pembroke, Bermuda.

About Investors Title

Investors Title Company, through its subsidiaries, provides title insurance for residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial properties. The company underwrites land title insurance for owners and mortgagees as a primary insurer; and assumes the reinsurance of title insurance risks from other title insurance companies. It also provides services in connection with tax-deferred exchanges of like-kind property; serves as a qualified intermediary in tax-deferred exchanges of property; coordinates the exchange aspects of the real estate transaction; and performs duties, including drafting standard exchange documents, holding the exchange funds between the sale of the old property and the purchase of the new property, and accepting the formal identification of the replacement property. In addition, it serves as an exchange accommodation titleholder for accomplishing reverse exchanges when the taxpayers decide to acquire replacement property before selling the relinquished property. Further, the company offers investment management and trust services to individuals, companies, banks, and trusts; and consulting and management services to clients to start and operate a title insurance agency. It issues title insurance policies primarily through approved attorneys from underwriting offices, as well as through independent issuing agents in 23 states and the District of Columbia, primarily in the eastern half of the United States. Investors Title Company was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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