AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (AFSI) Upgraded to Hold by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFSI) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “AmTrust Financial’s leadership position in commercial small business, expansion of other segments and an impressive inorganic growth story poise it well for growth. The company also aims to build an investment portfolio that returns in line with the sector. The slow but improving rate environment also raises optimism. Plus, a strong balance sheet facilitates growth initiatives and effective capital deployment. However, being a property and casualty insurer, the company remains exposed to cat environment, including volatility in underwriting results. Also, a high level of debt increases interest burden and escalates expenses, hurting margin. Shares of AmTrust Financial have underperformed the industry year to date. Moreover, the company did not witness any estimate revisions for its 2017 and 2018 estimates over the last 60 days.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on AFSI. BidaskClub upgraded shares of AmTrust Financial Services from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. JMP Securities initiated coverage on shares of AmTrust Financial Services in a research note on Friday, July 7th. They set an outperform rating and a $18.00 price objective on the stock. TheStreet cut shares of AmTrust Financial Services from a c rating to a d rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of AmTrust Financial Services from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, September 1st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $19.50.

AmTrust Financial Services (NASDAQ AFSI) opened at 13.74 on Tuesday. AmTrust Financial Services has a one year low of $11.36 and a one year high of $28.48. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $13.02 and a 200-day moving average of $14.55. The stock has a market cap of $2.69 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.35 and a beta of 1.24.

AmTrust Financial Services (NASDAQ:AFSI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 8th. The insurance provider reported $0.40 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.36 by $0.04. AmTrust Financial Services had a net margin of 5.14% and a return on equity of 14.26%. The business had revenue of $1.37 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.38 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.77 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 8.2% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that AmTrust Financial Services will post $1.34 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Investors of record on Monday, October 2nd will be paid a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 29th. This represents a $0.68 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.95%. AmTrust Financial Services’s payout ratio is 51.13%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in AFSI. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in shares of AmTrust Financial Services by 33.6% in the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 8,667,061 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $159,994,000 after buying an additional 2,181,846 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp lifted its holdings in AmTrust Financial Services by 54.1% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,292,917 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $49,854,000 after purchasing an additional 1,156,431 shares during the last quarter. Boston Partners lifted its holdings in AmTrust Financial Services by 291.8% in the 2nd quarter. Boston Partners now owns 1,230,210 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $18,625,000 after purchasing an additional 916,199 shares during the last quarter. Denver Investment Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in AmTrust Financial Services by 47.7% in the 2nd quarter. Denver Investment Advisors LLC now owns 2,262,970 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $34,261,000 after purchasing an additional 731,249 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada lifted its holdings in AmTrust Financial Services by 20.3% in the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 4,012,368 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $60,748,000 after purchasing an additional 676,537 shares during the last quarter. 36.82% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About AmTrust Financial Services

Amtrust Financial Services, Inc (AmTrust) is an insurance holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides specialty property and casualty insurance focusing on workers’ compensation and commercial package coverage for small business, specialty risk and extended warranty coverage, and property and casualty coverage for middle market business.

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