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KBW downgrades Universal Insurance to 'market perform' on valuation

Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Arash Soleimani has downgraded Universal Insurance Holdings Inc. to "market perform" from "outperform" due to valuation as the stock has recently moved sharply higher.

He wrote that Universal Insurance's stock trades at 9.4x his 2019 EPS estimate. This "fairly reflects" the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based insurer's solid organic growth and reinsurance program, as well as its supplemental storm-related income streams, Soleimani said.

Despite the downgrade, the analyst raised his 12-month target price to $44.00 from $39.00. Soleimani also increased his 2018 EPS estimate to $4.65 from $4.05, 2019 projection to $4.45 from $4.15 and 2020 prediction to $4.60 from $4.35.