AXIS Capital (NYSE:AXS) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

AXIS Capital (NYSE:AXS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have a $49.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 6.36% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “AXIS Capital continues to build on its Specialty Insurance, Reinsurance plus Accident and Health to pave the way for long-term growth. Focus on deploying resources prudently while enhancing efficiencies at the same time, improving its portfolio mix and underwriting profitability apart from fortifying the casualty and professional lines in insurance segment bode well. Repositioning of the portfolio, carried out over the past three years, will continue to drive results.  The company effectively deploys capital to boost shareholder value. However, exposure to catastrophe loss has been denting underwriting results and affecting combined ratio. Stiff competition in reinsurance industry and high cost due to higher net losses and loss expenses can put a strain on margin. Shares have underperformed its industry in a year.”

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on the stock. JMP Securities reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of AXIS Capital in a research note on Wednesday, August 25th. Morgan Stanley cut their price objective on shares of AXIS Capital from $60.00 to $57.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, August 16th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Based on data from MarketBeat, the stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $56.75.

AXIS Capital stock traded down $0.47 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $46.07. 2,925 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 406,276. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.31, a current ratio of 0.58 and a quick ratio of 0.58. AXIS Capital has a fifty-two week low of $42.17 and a fifty-two week high of $58.61. The company has a market capitalization of $3.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.86, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.95 and a beta of 0.88. The firm’s fifty day moving average is $50.46 and its two-hundred day moving average is $51.66.

AXIS Capital (NYSE:AXS) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Monday, July 26th. The insurance provider reported $2.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.45 by $0.55. The business had revenue of $1.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.14 billion. AXIS Capital had a net margin of 5.79% and a return on equity of 4.11%. AXIS Capital’s revenue for the quarter was up 14.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.84 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts predict that AXIS Capital will post 4.83 earnings per share for the current year.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Wells Fargo & Company MN lifted its holdings in AXIS Capital by 11.4% during the second quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 600,883 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $29,450,000 after purchasing an additional 61,348 shares in the last quarter. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. purchased a new position in AXIS Capital during the second quarter valued at $996,000. Millennium Management LLC lifted its holdings in AXIS Capital by 155.3% during the second quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 347,901 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $17,051,000 after purchasing an additional 211,637 shares in the last quarter. Man Group plc lifted its holdings in AXIS Capital by 190.6% during the second quarter. Man Group plc now owns 72,487 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $3,553,000 after purchasing an additional 47,540 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Balyasny Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in AXIS Capital by 73.1% during the second quarter. Balyasny Asset Management LLC now owns 220,226 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $10,793,000 after purchasing an additional 93,010 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 90.09% of the company’s stock.

About AXIS Capital

AXIS Capital Holdings Ltd. engages in the provision of various insurance and reinsurance products and services. It operates through the Insurance and Reinsurance segments. The Insurance segment offers property, marine, terrorism, aviation, political risk, professional lines, liability, and accident, and health insurance products.

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