Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Thursday. The firm currently has $123.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock.
According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry in a year. The company is well poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth and restructuring initiatives. Better industry fundamentals, with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio, should drive overall growth. Consistent price increase in property and casualty business, combined ratio that compares favorably with industry average, a strong balance sheet, low leverage cost, and disciplined capital management are positives. Based on the first nine months’ results, it lowered core net operating earnings to a range of $5.90-$6.20 per share in 2017. However, exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results. American Financial is set to report fourth-quarter results on Jan 31. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.64, reflecting a year-over-year decline of 17.1%. A Zacks Rank #2 with an Earnings ESP of 0.00% leaves surprise prediction inconclusive.”
Separately, Sandler O’Neill restated a buy rating and set a $119.00 price objective on shares of American Financial Group in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th.
Shares of American Financial Group (AFG) traded up $0.69 during trading on Thursday, reaching $110.30. 273,837 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 274,031. The company has a market capitalization of $9,710.00, a P/E ratio of 14.16, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.19 and a beta of 0.85. American Financial Group has a 12 month low of $85.69 and a 12 month high of $110.60. The company has a current ratio of 0.19, a quick ratio of 0.19 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24.
American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The insurance provider reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.85 by $0.21. The company had revenue of $1.27 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $979.50 million. American Financial Group had a net margin of 10.22% and a return on equity of 10.90%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.51 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that American Financial Group will post 6.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, January 25th. Investors of record on Monday, January 15th will be given a dividend of $0.35 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, January 11th. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.27%. American Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 17.97%.
In other American Financial Group news, CEO Carl H. Lindner III sold 150,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.71, for a total value of $15,706,500.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Virginia Drosos sold 1,438 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.21, for a total transaction of $149,853.98. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 8,034 shares in the company, valued at $837,223.14. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 201,438 shares of company stock worth $21,166,854 over the last quarter. Insiders own 14.90% of the company’s stock.
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in American Financial Group by 2.8% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,700,258 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $665,805,000 after acquiring an additional 182,739 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in American Financial Group by 9.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,488,701 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $644,783,000 after acquiring an additional 572,969 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its position in American Financial Group by 22.8% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,641,452 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $262,481,000 after acquiring an additional 490,781 shares during the period. Investec Asset Management LTD raised its position in American Financial Group by 1.6% in the third quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD now owns 1,171,186 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $121,159,000 after acquiring an additional 18,292 shares during the period. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH raised its position in shares of American Financial Group by 1.9% during the 3rd quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 1,037,666 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $107,347,000 after purchasing an additional 19,832 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.41% of the company’s stock.
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About American Financial Group
American Financial Group, Inc (AFG) is a holding company engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance businesses. The Company, through Great American Insurance Group, focuses on commercial products for businesses, and is engaged in the sale of fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions and education markets.
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