Arthur J Gallagher & Co (AJG) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co (NYSE:AJG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Arthur J. Gallagher have outperformed the industry in a year's time. The company witnessed positive estimate revisions in the last 30 days. Arthur J. Gallagher’s inorganic story seems impressive with strategic buyouts, the pipeline remaining strong with about $300 million of revenues. The company remains focused on tapping opportunities in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. The company remains focused on enhancing productivity and quality that is part of its value creation strategy. A solid performance is leading to sufficient cash flows and helps the company deploy capital in shareholder-friendly moves. However, escalating expenses and weak commercial P&C rates pose concerns.”

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A number of other research firms have also issued reports on AJG. Sandler O’Neill reissued a hold rating and issued a $71.00 price target on shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co in a research report on Thursday, March 15th. Wells Fargo set a $78.00 price target on shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 14th. William Blair raised shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, March 8th. Barclays reaffirmed an overweight rating and set a $82.00 price objective (up previously from $70.00) on shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co in a research report on Tuesday, February 20th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, March 1st. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $72.80.

Shares of NYSE AJG traded down $1.34 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $67.09. The company had a trading volume of 934,109 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,124,095. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 1.05 and a quick ratio of 1.05. The firm has a market capitalization of $12,414.98, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.64 and a beta of 1.13. Arthur J Gallagher & Co has a 12-month low of $54.50 and a 12-month high of $72.77.

Arthur J Gallagher & Co (NYSE:AJG) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.82 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.75 by $0.07. The business had revenue of $1.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.48 billion. Arthur J Gallagher & Co had a net margin of 7.52% and a return on equity of 13.95%. The firm’s revenue was up 15.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.66 earnings per share. analysts predict that Arthur J Gallagher & Co will post 3.58 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 2nd were paid a $0.41 dividend. This is an increase from Arthur J Gallagher & Co’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.39. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.44%. Arthur J Gallagher & Co’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 53.59%.

In related news, Director Frank E. Jr. English sold 600 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.71, for a total value of $38,226.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 10,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $637,100. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CFO Douglas K. Howell sold 5,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, February 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $68.17, for a total value of $354,484.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 43,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,931,310. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 21,766 shares of company stock worth $1,501,938. 1.60% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Arthur J Gallagher & Co by 1.3% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 14,413,622 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $912,092,000 after purchasing an additional 184,778 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co by 7.7% during the fourth quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 4,182,454 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $264,665,000 after acquiring an additional 297,388 shares during the period. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co by 183.4% during the fourth quarter. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. now owns 2,273,464 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $143,865,000 after acquiring an additional 1,471,258 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co by 3.8% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,976,703 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $124,823,000 after acquiring an additional 71,887 shares during the period. Finally, Champlain Investment Partners LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Arthur J Gallagher & Co by 0.8% during the fourth quarter. Champlain Investment Partners LLC now owns 1,711,635 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $108,312,000 after acquiring an additional 14,255 shares during the period. 83.92% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Arthur J Gallagher & Co Company Profile

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co, together with its subsidiaries, provides insurance brokerage, consulting, and third party claims settlement and administration services to entities in the United States and internationally. Its Brokerage segment consists of retail and wholesale insurance brokerage operations.

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