Progressive Corp. (NYSE:PGR) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Progressive Corp.’s growth could be challenged by intense competition. Increasing combined ratio, underperforming commercial auto business pose near-term headwinds. In fact the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both 206 and 2017 witnessed downward revision over the last 60 days. The same declined 4.7% for 2016 and 1.9% for 2017, over the same time frame. Nonetheless, the company strives to become a one-stop insurance shopping destination by catering to customers opting for a combination of home and auto. To this end, the company acquired the majority stake in ARX Holdings, which is now bearing fruit, thereby raising further optimism about the future. The company remains focused on paying back its shareholders via dividends as well as share repurchases that lower share count and boost the bottom line. The company has also been witnessing improving premiums.”

A number of other research firms have also issued reports on PGR. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods raised Progressive Corp. from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $29.00 to $31.00 in a report on Thursday, September 15th. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued an “underperform” rating and set a $28.00 price target on shares of Progressive Corp. in a report on Wednesday, September 7th. FBR & Co reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Progressive Corp. in a report on Thursday, June 16th. Citigroup Inc. lowered Progressive Corp. from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and lowered their price target for the stock from $36.00 to $31.00 in a report on Thursday, June 2nd. Finally, MKM Partners reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $40.00 price objective on shares of Progressive Corp. in a report on Thursday, June 23rd. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Progressive Corp. currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $32.14.

Analyst Recommendations for Progressive Corp. (NYSE:PGR)

Progressive Corp. (NYSE:PGR) opened at 31.02 on Monday. Progressive Corp. has a one year low of $29.32 and a one year high of $35.54. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $32.58 and its 200-day moving average price is $33.08. The firm has a market cap of $18.05 billion, a PE ratio of 17.23 and a beta of 0.75.

Progressive Corp. (NYSE:PGR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 14th. The company reported $0.33 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.34 by $0.01. Progressive Corp. had a return on equity of 13.57% and a net margin of 4.80%. The company had revenue of $5.93 billion for the quarter. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.62 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 13.1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that Progressive Corp. will post $1.61 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Progressive Corp. news, insider John A. Barbagallo sold 11,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.50, for a total value of $346,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 163,101 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,137,681.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Bradley T. Sheares sold 19,564 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.96, for a total value of $625,265.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 4,964 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $158,649.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.60% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management acquired a new position in shares of Progressive Corp. during the second quarter valued at $108,000. Financial Architects Inc increased its position in shares of Progressive Corp. by 1,471.7% in the second quarter. Financial Architects Inc now owns 3,992 shares of the company’s stock valued at $134,000 after buying an additional 3,738 shares during the period. Creative Planning increased its position in shares of Progressive Corp. by 88.9% in the second quarter. Creative Planning now owns 4,058 shares of the company’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 1,910 shares during the period. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its position in shares of Progressive Corp. by 24.2% in the second quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 4,833 shares of the company’s stock valued at $162,000 after buying an additional 943 shares during the period. Finally, Global X Management Co. LLC increased its position in shares of Progressive Corp. by 79.8% in the second quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 5,326 shares of the company’s stock valued at $178,000 after buying an additional 2,363 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 76.53% of the company’s stock.

Progressive Corp. Company Profile

The Progressive Corporation is an insurance holding company. The Company’s insurance subsidiaries and affiliates provide personal and commercial automobile and property insurance, other specialty property-casualty insurance and related services. The Company operates through Personal Lines, Commercial Lines and Property segments.

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