QBE Insurance Group (ASX.QBE) is an Australian general insurer that over the long term, has been good to investors. However the stock price has not been immune from the recent stock market rout and the share price was clipped from a 52 week high of over $33 in late 2007 to under $20 in March 2008.
Oddly enough the QBE share price has not closed under $20 since March, and from June onwards the stock price has basically been tracking upwards while the ASX 200/All Ords has been on the way down.
QBE Insurance: 1 year share price chart.
Although I am not normally one that spends a great deal of time analysing charts, the movement of the QBE stock price has been of interest to me for some years. This is because I feel it acts as a sort of market barometer and therefore it is perhaps a useful stock to watch as discussed in: QBE and the All Ordinaries
Curiously enough this relationship between the QBE share price and All Ords has in the last few weeks been re-established, and I hope this means that 2009 is year we start to see the stock market stabilise.
I am long term fan of QBE mainly because of the company’s solid returns and ability to bounce back after market routs. The management team also appears to be looking after shareholders money well, and for the last few years the Return on Equity (ROE) has been bouncing around 20% mark.
In addition QBE is an Australian company that has significant overseas exposure and this fits in well with my investment approach, as I feel the Australian economy is in for some tough years. A weaker Australian dollar also helps QBE’s bottom line when translating those overseas earnings into $AUD. The stock currently offers a yield of around 5% (partially franked) which in an environment where interest rates are being cut, is starting to look pretty attractive.
If we look at the QBE stock price chart over the last 5 years (see chart below) we can see that the stock is currently trading well below it’s long term price trend. (show as a green line on the chart) Of course this means little if the company is in serious trouble, but for a company that seems pretty robust like QBE, I would suggest that over time the stock price will revert to the long term trend. Therefore it does not seem unrealistic to expect the stock price to break through $30 in 2009 as long as global economic events start to improve.
QBE: 5 year share price chart
Please note that QBE has recently been doing some capital raising via an institutional placement and a share purchase plan so this has kept a lid on the share price. For further details please refer to the QBE investor information website.
As always I urge readers to do their own research. However if you are a long term investor then perhaps QBE is worth having a look at as part of a diversified stock portfolio.
(Please note that the author of this article has an interest in QBE shares and we also remind site visitors to read our blog disclaimer.)