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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “American Financial’s third-quarter 2017 earnings outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate but declined year over year due to lower underwriting income as a result of higher catastrophe loss. Also, shares of American Financial have underperformed the industry since the release of its third-quarter results. American Financial 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 the first nine months’ results, it lowered core net operating earnings to a range of $5.90-$6.20 per share in 2017. However, its exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results.”

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. BidaskClub downgraded American Financial Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Friday, August 25th. Buckingham Research started coverage on American Financial Group in a research report on Monday, September 11th. They issued a neutral rating and a $103.00 price target on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. American Financial Group presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $100.67.

Shares of American Financial Group (AFG) opened at $105.63 on Tuesday. American Financial Group has a 1-year low of $78.31 and a 1-year high of $106.52. The company has a quick ratio of 0.17, a current ratio of 0.19 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24. The firm has a market capitalization of $9,283.56, a P/E ratio of 16.62, a P/E/G ratio of 2.98 and a beta of 0.86.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The insurance provider reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.85 by $0.21. American Financial Group had a return on equity of 10.90% and a net margin of 10.22%. The firm had revenue of $1.27 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $979.50 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.51 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.3% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that American Financial Group will post 6.05 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently declared a special dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 27th. Shareholders of record on Friday, November 17th will be given a $2.00 dividend. This is an increase from American Financial Group’s previous special dividend of $1.50. This represents a yield of 1.33%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 16th. American Financial Group’s payout ratio is currently 17.97%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Burney Co. increased its position in shares of American Financial Group by 0.5% during the second quarter. Burney Co. now owns 5,174 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $515,000 after purchasing an additional 25 shares during the period. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. increased its position in shares of American Financial Group by 1.3% during the second quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 2,425 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $241,000 after purchasing an additional 30 shares during the period. State of Alaska Department of Revenue increased its position in shares of American Financial Group by 0.7% during the second quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 6,190 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $615,000 after purchasing an additional 40 shares during the period. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado increased its position in shares of American Financial Group by 1.9% during the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado now owns 2,210 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $220,000 after purchasing an additional 42 shares during the period. Finally, World Asset Management Inc increased its position in shares of American Financial Group by 1.1% during the second quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 5,000 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $497,000 after purchasing an additional 52 shares during the period. 62.17% of the stock is currently owned by 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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