3 Insurance Stocks Sinking as Hurricane Irma Looms

Heritage Insurance stock hit a record low as traders gauge Hurricane Irma's impact on Florida

Sep 5, 2017 at 1:39 PM
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U.S. stocks are trading lower this afternoon, as North Korea tensions flare up. Also taking a tumble are Florida-exposed insurance stocks HCI Group Inc (NYSE:HCI)Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:UVE), and Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc (NYSE:HRTG) -- all of which rank among the worst stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of Hurricane Irma, which is expected to make landfall in Florida on Saturday. All three stocks also made today's short-sale restricted (SSR) list. Here's a quick look at how the Category 5 storm is sinking shares of HCI, UVE, and HRTG.

HCI Group Stock Drops to Year-to-Date Lows

Insurance stocks have been no match for tropical storms lately. As such, unease surrounding Hurricane Irma has HCI Group stock down 15% to trade at $32.87. HCI hasn't visited this territory since early December 2016 -- two months after Hurricane Matthew sent the stock to a three-year low. HCI shares are now down roughly 17% year-to-date, poised for their worst session in at least two years.

Shorts are likely cheering today's decline, as short interest represents roughly 16% of HCI's total available float. At the equity's average daily trading volume, it would take almost four weeks to cover the shorted shares. As alluded to earlier, though, HCI Group stock is on the SSR list today.

Universal Insurance Sinks to New Annual Low

Universal Insurance stock was last seen down 17.3% to trade at $17.83, after sinking to a new annual low of $17.57 earlier. UVE is now down roughly 40% from its 52-week high of $29.20, which it set on Jan. 4, and is on track for its steepest one-day percentage loss since November 2015. What'smore, Universal Insurance shares are pacing for their first close beneath their 50-month moving average since February 2013.  

Like HCI, short interest accounts for 13% of UVE's total available float, or more than 21 times' the stock's average daily trading volume. In other words, it would take more than four weeks to cover these shorted shares. So, while UVE is on the SSR list, there are plenty of shorts likely cheering today's drop.

Heritage Insurance Stock Hits Record Low

Shares of Heritage Insurance stock are down 15% to trade at $9.58, after touching a record low of $9.52 earlier. HRTG has struggled against its 200-day moving average for the better part of 2017, and could be at risk of bearish analyst attention. The only analyst following the stock rates it a "strong buy," leaving Heritage shares vulnerable to a downgrade or negative analyst initiations.


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