Validus Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:VR) gapped up prior to trading on Friday . The stock had previously closed at $49.00, but opened at $49.10. Validus Holdings shares last traded at $49.59, with a volume of 108,694 shares traded.

VR has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Validus Holdings from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $53.00 price objective for the company in a report on Saturday, April 2nd. Bank of America Corp. raised shares of Validus Holdings from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, May 2nd. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. assumed coverage on shares of Validus Holdings in a research report on Tuesday, June 28th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $55.00 target price for the company. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $52.25.

The company has a market capitalization of $4.03 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.50. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $47.65 and its 200 day moving average price is $46.22.

Validus Holdings (NYSE:VR) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, April 29th. The company reported $1.39 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.21 by $0.18. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.98 earnings per share. The company had revenue of $1 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $560.34 million. The company’s revenue was up 8.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Validus Holdings Ltd. will post $4.02 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, June 30th. Investors of record on Wednesday, June 15th were issued a dividend of $0.35 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, June 13th. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.83%.

In related news, CAO Patrick Boisvert sold 1,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, June 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.00, for a total value of $72,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 2,413 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $115,824. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Lixin Zeng sold 4,887 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.36, for a total transaction of $236,335.32. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 36,607 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,770,314.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors have added to or reduced their stakes in VR. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its position in Validus Holdings by 4.7% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,907,426 shares of the company’s stock worth $88,299,000 after buying an additional 85,497 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its position in Validus Holdings by 2.4% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 1,441,749 shares of the company’s stock worth $66,738,000 after buying an additional 34,039 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC increased its position in Validus Holdings by 31.6% in the fourth quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 1,335,795 shares of the company’s stock worth $61,834,000 after buying an additional 320,684 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley increased its position in Validus Holdings by 61.3% in the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 426,044 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,721,000 after buying an additional 161,933 shares during the period. Finally, Monarch Partners Asset Management LLC increased its position in Validus Holdings by 43.8% in the fourth quarter. Monarch Partners Asset Management LLC now owns 335,610 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,535,000 after buying an additional 102,251 shares during the period.

Validus Holdings, Ltd. is a holding company. The Company conducts its operations through four operating segments: Validus Re, Talbot, Western World and AlphaCat. Validus Re is a Bermuda-based reinsurance segment focused treaty reinsurance. AlphaCat is an investment advisor managing capital from third parties and the Company in insurance linked securities and other investments in the property catastrophe reinsurance space.

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