Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) Sees Significant Increase in Short Interest

Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNTGet Rating) saw a large growth in short interest during the month of December. As of December 30th, there was short interest totalling 1,210,000 shares, a growth of 8.0% from the December 15th total of 1,120,000 shares. Approximately 1.2% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 432,400 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.8 days.

Essent Group Stock Down 0.5 %

Essent Group stock opened at $40.65 on Wednesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.38 billion, a PE ratio of 5.09, a P/E/G ratio of 0.64 and a beta of 1.17. Essent Group has a 52 week low of $34.27 and a 52 week high of $47.26. The firm’s 50-day simple moving average is $39.00 and its 200 day simple moving average is $39.14.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNTGet Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, November 4th. The financial services provider reported $1.66 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.55 by $0.11. Essent Group had a net margin of 84.17% and a return on equity of 20.33%. The company had revenue of $261.77 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $241.69 million. On average, research analysts expect that Essent Group will post 7.93 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Essent Group Increases Dividend

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 12th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 1st were given a dividend of $0.23 per share. This is an increase from Essent Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, November 30th. This represents a $0.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.26%. Essent Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 11.53%.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

ESNT has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. StockNews.com cut Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, January 13th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reduced their target price on Essent Group from $53.00 to $50.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 10th. The Goldman Sachs Group cut shares of Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $44.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Thursday, January 5th. BTIG Research decreased their price objective on shares of Essent Group from $54.00 to $45.00 in a report on Friday, November 4th. Finally, TheStreet cut shares of Essent Group from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a report on Thursday, October 20th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Based on data from MarketBeat, Essent Group currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $45.60.

Insider Buying and Selling at Essent Group

In related news, Director Aditya Dutt sold 6,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, November 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.23, for a total transaction of $235,380.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 23,023 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $903,192.29. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Company insiders own 2.90% of the company’s stock.

Hedge Funds Weigh In On Essent Group

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in ESNT. Capital World Investors grew its stake in Essent Group by 10.2% in the 1st quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 8,781,249 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $361,875,000 after acquiring an additional 815,259 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in shares of Essent Group by 5.4% in the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,395,154 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $536,829,000 after purchasing an additional 794,094 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Essent Group by 4.0% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 10,590,130 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $436,419,000 after purchasing an additional 411,585 shares during the period. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its position in Essent Group by 504.5% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 374,800 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $14,580,000 after buying an additional 312,800 shares during the period. Finally, State Street Corp lifted its position in Essent Group by 7.0% during the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 4,375,800 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $180,327,000 after buying an additional 286,764 shares during the period. 92.07% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Essent Group Company Profile

(Get Rating)

Essent Group Ltd. is a holding company, which engages in the provision of banking services. It offers mortgage insurance, reinsurance, and risk management products. The company was founded by Mark A. Casale on July 1, 2008 and is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

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