What happened

Progressive (NYSE:PGR) shareholders beat the market last month as their investment gained 16% compared to a roughly flat result for the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The rally got shares closer to market-matching returns over the medium term, given that the insurance giant's stock underperformed the S&P 500 by 10 percentage points in 2019.

A person signing a document on a desk

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

January's jump was powered by the solid operating results that management issued in the final days of the month. Progressive saw a 12% spike in written premiums in the fiscal fourth quarter, after adjusting for timing shifts. December was a strong month, too, as Progressive's base of personal auto policy holders rose 11% to 14.9 million. 

Now what

Investors will get another mid-quarter sales update on Feb. 19, but the stock's rally will be tested more significantly when Progressive announces its full fourth-quarter sales and profit trends later in the month. That's when the company will reveal detail about its margins and returns on equity, in addition to updates on the newly launched home insurance platform.

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