American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. The company is well poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth and restructuring initiatives. Better industry fundamentals, with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio, should drive overall growth. Consistent price increase in property and casualty business, combined ratio that compares favorably with industry average, a strong balance sheet, low leverage cost, and disciplined capital management are positives. Based on strong operational performance, it raised core net operating earnings of $6.40–$6.90 per share in 2017. Estimates for 2017 and 2018 also moved north over the last 60 days.  However, American Financial’s exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results. A still soft interest rate environment is expected to weigh on desired upside in investment results.”

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Buckingham Research began coverage on American Financial Group in a report on Monday, September 11th. They set a neutral rating and a $103.00 price target for the company. BidaskClub lowered American Financial Group from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, July 13th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $100.33.

Shares of American Financial Group (NYSE AFG) opened at 102.53 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $9.02 billion, a PE ratio of 11.56 and a beta of 0.84. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $101.90 and a 200 day moving average price of $98.92. American Financial Group has a 12-month low of $73.38 and a 12-month high of $105.58.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The insurance provider reported $1.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.31. American Financial Group had a return on equity of 11.66% and a net margin of 11.89%. The business had revenue of $1.07 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.12 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.28 earnings per share. American Financial Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that American Financial Group will post $6.77 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, insider Michelle A. Gillis sold 2,051 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.88, for a total value of $215,108.88. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 17,939 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,881,442.32. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO S Craig Lindner sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.27, for a total value of $2,606,750.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 14.90% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of American Financial Group by 2.8% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,700,258 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $665,805,000 after acquiring an additional 182,739 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of American Financial Group by 9.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,488,701 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $644,783,000 after acquiring an additional 572,969 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its stake in shares of American Financial Group by 22.8% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,641,452 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $262,481,000 after acquiring an additional 490,781 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of American Financial Group by 1.8% in the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,135,790 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $212,234,000 after acquiring an additional 37,752 shares during the period. Finally, AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of American Financial Group by 0.6% in the first quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 1,334,072 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $127,297,000 after acquiring an additional 7,997 shares during the period. 62.33% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About American Financial Group

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.

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