American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG) Rating Increased 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 report published on Tuesday, November 7th.

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.”

Several other analysts also recently commented on the stock. BidaskClub downgraded shares of American Financial Group from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, July 13th. Buckingham Research initiated coverage on shares of American Financial Group in a research note on Monday, September 11th. They issued a neutral rating and a $103.00 price objective for the company. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $100.67.

American Financial Group (NYSE AFG) opened at $101.95 on Tuesday. American Financial Group has a fifty-two week low of $79.95 and a fifty-two week high of $106.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24, a current ratio of 0.19 and a quick ratio of 0.19. The company has a market cap of $8,983.09, a PE ratio of 16.08, a PEG ratio of 2.89 and a beta of 0.86.

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

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

In other news, CEO S Craig Lindner sold 50,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $106.21, for a total value of $5,310,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Corporate insiders own 13.70% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Acrospire Investment Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of American Financial Group by 153.6% in the 2nd quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,321 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $131,000 after purchasing an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. bought a new stake in shares of American Financial Group in the 2nd quarter worth about $155,000. Dai Ichi Life Insurance Company Ltd bought a new stake in American Financial Group during the 3rd quarter worth about $201,000. TLP Group LLC bought a new stake in American Financial Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $194,000. Finally, Strategic Global Advisors LLC bought a new stake in American Financial Group during the 3rd quarter worth about $207,000. 60.18% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

American Financial Group Company Profile

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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