BTIG Research upgraded shares of Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning, MarketBeat.com reports. BTIG Research currently has $44.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

“Growth + Operating Leverage = Upside for ESNT We are upgrading Essent Group (ESNT) to Buy (from Neutral) with a price target of $44 based on 11x our FY19E earnings per share of $3.97. ESNT’s operating performance during 1H17 was significantly better than we had expected on several fronts, including 30% year-over-year growth in insurance-in-force (IIF) in each quarter, annualized ROE north of 19%, and a default rate of just 0.41% at June 30.”,” BTIG Research’s analyst commented.

Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on ESNT. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Essent Group from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $41.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Friday, September 8th. BidaskClub cut Essent Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Friday, September 8th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upgraded Essent Group from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and raised their price target for the stock from $43.00 to $44.00 in a research report on Wednesday, August 23rd. Barclays PLC restated a buy rating on shares of Essent Group in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG raised their price target on Essent Group from $42.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 8th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Essent Group presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $43.43.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) opened at 39.08 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $3.65 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.91 and a beta of 1.14. Essent Group has a 52-week low of $25.84 and a 52-week high of $41.44. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $38.45 and a 200-day moving average of $37.16.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, August 4th. The financial services provider reported $0.77 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.68 by $0.09. Essent Group had a return on equity of 18.77% and a net margin of 50.92%. The business had revenue of $137.61 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $131.99 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.57 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 27.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Essent Group will post $3.06 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, CFO Lawrence E. Mcalee, Jr. sold 7,000 shares of Essent Group stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.99, for a total transaction of $258,930.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 279,285 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,330,752.15. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CFO Lawrence E. Mcalee, Jr. sold 2,000 shares of Essent Group stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.02, for a total value of $78,040.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 275,285 shares in the company, valued at $10,741,620.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 31,918 shares of company stock worth $1,244,860 over the last ninety days. 18.10% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Koch Industries Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Essent Group during the second quarter valued at about $395,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Essent Group during the second quarter valued at about $906,000. Sterling Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Essent Group by 8.6% during the second quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 27,191 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,010,000 after purchasing an additional 2,147 shares in the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Essent Group by 5.1% during the second quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 6,781 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $252,000 after purchasing an additional 330 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Albion Financial Group UT boosted its stake in shares of Essent Group by 0.9% during the second quarter. Albion Financial Group UT now owns 15,704 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $583,000 after purchasing an additional 145 shares in the last quarter. 81.44% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Essent Group

Essent Group Ltd. is a private mortgage insurance company. The Company is engaged in offering private mortgage insurance and reinsurance for mortgages secured by residential properties located in the United States. Its products and services include mortgage insurance, contract underwriting, and Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance.

Analyst Recommendations for Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT)

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