Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:PFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Thursday. The brokerage currently has a $65.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 12.67% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Principal Financial have significantly outperformed the Zacks-categorized Property and Casualty (P&C) industry, year-to-date. Principal Financial’s focus on fee-based revenue sources has been helping it to earn steadily, and limits exposure to the interest rate environment. Annuity and insurance business also offer sustained earnings growth. The company’s inorganic story remains impressive with buyouts strengthening its international footprint. It also remains focused on effective capital deployment to enhance shareholder value. However, the company’s investment results will likely be hurt by a soft interest rate environment, restricting any major improvement. Escalating expenses pose concerns. With respect to quarterly results, the company’s third-quarter 2016 earnings outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also improved year over year.”

PFG has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Barclays PLC raised their target price on shares of Principal Financial Group from $51.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, November 17th. RBC Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $61.00 target price (up previously from $52.00) on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Thursday, November 17th. Royal Bank Of Canada raised their target price on shares of Principal Financial Group from $52.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, November 17th. Credit Suisse Group AG initiated coverage on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Friday, October 7th. They issued an “underperform” rating and a $53.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised their target price on shares of Principal Financial Group from $40.00 to $45.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, September 23rd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $51.43.

Analyst Recommendations for Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG)

Shares of Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) opened at 57.26 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $16.47 billion, a PE ratio of 13.42 and a beta of 1.68. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $54.82 and a 200-day moving average price of $47.98. Principal Financial Group has a 12-month low of $33.09 and a 12-month high of $58.85.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $1.15 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.03. Principal Financial Group had a return on equity of 12.34% and a net margin of 10.63%. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.06 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Principal Financial Group will post $4.43 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 27th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 5th will be given a $0.43 dividend. This is a positive change from Principal Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.41. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 1st. This represents a $1.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.98%. Principal Financial Group’s payout ratio is 38.41%.

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In other Principal Financial Group news, EVP Gary P. Scholten sold 13,000 shares of Principal Financial Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $754,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Timothy Mark Dunbar sold 5,000 shares of Principal Financial Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total transaction of $260,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.78% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of PFG. Americafirst Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Principal Financial Group during the second quarter valued at about $100,000. Acrospire Investment Management LLC raised its position in Principal Financial Group by 17.4% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 2,700 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 400 shares during the period. Virtus Investment Advisers Inc. acquired a new position in Principal Financial Group during the third quarter valued at about $114,000. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in Principal Financial Group during the second quarter valued at about $121,000. Finally, Huntington National Bank raised its position in Principal Financial Group by 17.9% in the third quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 2,493 shares of the company’s stock valued at $129,000 after buying an additional 378 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 67.35% of the company’s stock.

About Principal Financial Group

Principal Financial Group, Inc is an investment management company. The Company offers a range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance services. The Company’s segments include Retirement and Income Solutions; Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S.

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