American Equity Investment Life Holding Co. (NYSE:AEL)’s share price gapped up before the market opened on Friday . The stock had previously closed at $17.07, but opened at $17.11. American Equity Investment Life Holding shares last traded at $17.22, with a volume of 404,960 shares.

A number of research firms have weighed in on AEL. TheStreet raised American Equity Investment Life Holding from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 18th. FBR & Co reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $21.00 price objective (up previously from $20.00) on shares of American Equity Investment Life Holding in a report on Thursday, May 26th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded American Equity Investment Life Holding from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 26th. Jefferies Group raised American Equity Investment Life Holding from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, June 6th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised American Equity Investment Life Holding from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and cut their price objective for the company from $23.00 to $20.00 in a report on Monday, June 6th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $23.67.

The stock’s 50 day moving average is $15.99 and its 200 day moving average is $15.19. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.43 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.17.

American Equity Investment Life Holding (NYSE:AEL) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.60 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.61 by $0.01. The business earned $549.80 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $467.51 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.64 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 24.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts expect that American Equity Investment Life Holding Co. will post $2.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Alexander Meeker Clark sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $16.66, for a total transaction of $83,300.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 8,500 shares in the company, valued at $141,610. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink.

Other large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Schroder Investment Management Group increased its stake in American Equity Investment Life Holding by 9.0% in the fourth quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 1,287,760 shares of the company’s stock valued at $30,945,000 after buying an additional 105,900 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in American Equity Investment Life Holding by 1.2% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 746,648 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,941,000 after buying an additional 8,945 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its stake in American Equity Investment Life Holding by 10.5% in the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 709,393 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,048,000 after buying an additional 67,131 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. increased its stake in American Equity Investment Life Holding by 66.3% in the fourth quarter. Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. now owns 46,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,115,000 after buying an additional 18,500 shares in the last quarter.

American Equity Investment Life Holding Company is engaged in the development and sale of fixed index and fixed rate annuity products. The Company issues fixed annuity and life insurance products through its life insurance subsidiaries, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company of New York and Eagle Life Insurance Company.

Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of analysts' upgrades, downgrades and new coverage with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.