American Financial Group Inc. (AFG) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell
According to Zacks, “Exposure catastrophe loss is a risk to American Financial’s underwriting results as is a soft interest rate environment on investment. Nonetheless, the company is well poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth deals and restructuring initiatives. An agreement to acquire the leftover shares of National Interstate shows prudence of investing in business that it knows best. Better industry fundamentals, with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio, should drive overall growth. A strong balance sheet, low leverage cost, and disciplined capital management (raised dividend by 12% in Aug 2016) are positives. Notably, the Zacks Consensus Estimate dipped 0.2% for 2016, but the same inched up 0.3% for 2017, over the last 60 days. However, based on strong results through the first half the company expects earnings of $5.35 – $5.75 per share in 2016.”
AFG has been the topic of several other research reports. Sandler O’Neill raised American Financial Group from a hold rating to a buy rating and increased their target price for the stock from $74.00 to $81.00 in a research note on Friday, August 12th. Janney Montgomery Scott reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of American Financial Group in a research report on Thursday, June 30th.
Shares of American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) opened at 76.38 on Wednesday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $75.15 and a 200-day moving average price of $72.59. American Financial Group has a 12 month low of $64.87 and a 12 month high of $76.93. The stock has a market cap of $6.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.52 and a beta of 0.76.
American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.01. American Financial Group had a return on equity of 9.74% and a net margin of 5.46%. The firm had revenue of $1.58 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.06 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.28 EPS. American Financial Group’s revenue was up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that American Financial Group will post $5.70 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 25th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 14th will be given a $0.3125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, October 12th. This represents a $1.25 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.64%. This is a positive change from American Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.28. American Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 31.89%.
In other news, CEO Carl H. Lindner III sold 100,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total transaction of $7,514,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director William W. Verity sold 2,046 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.97, for a total value of $149,296.62. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 5,549 shares in the company, valued at approximately $404,910.53. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 14.90% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of AFG. Highland Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of American Financial Group by 0.8% in the third quarter. Highland Capital Management LLC now owns 60,267 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,520,000 after buying an additional 454 shares during the period. Creative Planning raised its stake in shares of American Financial Group by 22.1% in the third quarter. Creative Planning now owns 10,591 shares of the company’s stock valued at $794,000 after buying an additional 1,917 shares during the period. Eqis Capital Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of American Financial Group during the third quarter valued at $766,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of American Financial Group during the second quarter valued at $2,397,000. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada raised its stake in shares of American Financial Group by 9.9% in the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 363,478 shares of the company’s stock valued at $26,871,000 after buying an additional 32,869 shares during the period. 59.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
American Financial Group Company Profile
American Financial Group, Inc (AFG) is a holding company engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance businesses. The Company, through Great American Insurance Group, focuses on commercial products for businesses, and is engaged in the sale of fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions and education markets.
For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com
Receive News & Ratings for American Financial Group Inc. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for American Financial Group Inc. and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.