Assurant Performance Holds Back Death Care Index

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Friday marked the stock market’s first “quadruple witching day” of 2018 so we thought it might be a good time to look at the performance of the death care industry stocks and how they performed in the first 2 1/2 months of the 2018 market.  Funeral Director Daily’s Death Care Index or DCI is a compilation of eight public companies in North America and represents the total stock price if you held one share of each stock – it is not a scientific comparison because of the different numerical prices for the individual stocks, but meant to be an indication of how the death care industry is moving in general.  The stocks included are manufacturers such as Hillenbrand Industries and Matthews International, insurance company stocks such as Security National Life and Assurant, and to the consumer death care services companies StoneMor Partners, Carriage Services, Service Corporation International, and Park Lawn Corporation.

What we found for the first 2 1/2 months of 2018 is that the DCI was virtually equal to its reading on December 31, 2017.  The reading as of the close of business on Friday, March 16, 2018 was a composite of $295.51 as compared to $296.45 as of December 31, 2017.  The total dividends put off by the DCI equaled an annual payment of $5.29 representing a 1.8% yield.

What we also found, however, was that 7 of our 8 stocks had gained in value with only an approximate 10% drop in the value of pre-need insurance company Assurant being the only negative mover in that time period.  Here is how the other DCI stocks fared during that time period.

  • Security National Life                                + 2.9%
  • Service Corporation International        + 2.5%
  • Hillenbrand Industries                              + 3.7%
  • Matthews International                            + 0.1%
  • StoneMor Partners                                      + 4.7%
  • Carriage Services                                         + 8.7%
  • Park Lawn Corporation                             +17.33%

Had Assurant just held its value from 12-31-17 the DCI would have had an increase of about 3% for the period.   That compares to a 2.93% gain for the S + P 500, an 8.38% gain for the NASDAQ, and a gain of 0.92% for the DJIA.

Other items of interest in the death care public stock market include:

  • The long-term rating of Assurant from Standard and Poor’s dropped to a BBB from a BBB+ as a result of their funding from a newly announced 6.5% mandatory convertible debt offering that will be used to fund their acquisition of The Warranty Group.
  • Park Lawn Corporation will report earnings on March 28 and at least one analyst has predicted earnings for the quarter to be at $0.25 per share.  That would compare favorably with the same quarter earnings last year of $0.11 per share.
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