Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Validus Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:VR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Validus Holdings, Ltd., through its principal operating subsidiary Validus Reinsurance, Ltd., is a global provider of short-tail lines of reinsurance including property catastrophe, property pro-rata and property per risk, marine and energy, and other specialty lines. Validus was formed in December following the significant natural catastrophes of 2005 with an experienced management team and an unencumbered capital base of approximately $one billion. “

Separately, JPMorgan Chase & Co. began coverage on shares of Validus Holdings in a report on Tuesday, June 28th. They issued an overweight rating and a $55.00 price objective on the stock. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $52.25.

Validus Holdings (NYSE:VR) opened at 49.63 on Wednesday. Validus Holdings has a 52-week low of $41.73 and a 52-week high of $51.43. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.99 billion, a PE ratio of 10.57 and a beta of 0.57. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $50.14 and its 200 day moving average is $47.90.

Validus Holdings (NYSE:VR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.66 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.75 by $0.09. Validus Holdings had a net margin of 16.72% and a return on equity of 8.93%. The company had revenue of $574.47 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $576.08 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.16 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Validus Holdings will post $4.00 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 30th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a $0.35 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.82%. Validus Holdings’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 29.72%.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Group LTD raised its stake in Validus Holdings by 23.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 71,838 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,390,000 after buying an additional 13,432 shares during the period. James Investment Research Inc. raised its stake in Validus Holdings by 0.6% in the second quarter. James Investment Research Inc. now owns 9,656 shares of the company’s stock valued at $469,000 after buying an additional 53 shares during the period. NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. purchased a new stake in Validus Holdings during the first quarter valued at $727,000. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its stake in Validus Holdings by 42.5% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 78,487 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,704,000 after buying an additional 23,400 shares during the period. Finally, State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System raised its stake in Validus Holdings by 15.3% in the second quarter. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System now owns 128,438 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,241,000 after buying an additional 16,999 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 93.61% of the company’s stock.

About Validus Holdings

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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