American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $112.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. It is well-poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth and is thus prudently investing in businesses it is knowledgeable about. The recent deal between National Interstate, its commercial transportation specialist subsidiary and Atlas Financial to be the exclusive underwriter the latter’s paratransit business bears the testimony to the same.  Consistent price increase in Property and Casualty business should favor results. Better industry fundamentals with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio should drive overall growth. A strong balance sheet, low leverage cost and an efficient capital management are tailwinds. It expects operating earnings in the range of $8.35-$8.85 in 2019. However, soft Annuity business and exposure to catastrophe  loss are concerns.”

Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of USINAS SIDERURG/S from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 29th. Buckingham Research upgraded shares of American Financial Group from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $120.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, June 13th.

Shares of AFG opened at $105.22 on Wednesday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $102.34. The company has a market cap of $9.42 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.53, a PEG ratio of 1.98 and a beta of 0.87. The company has a quick ratio of 0.15, a current ratio of 0.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25. American Financial Group has a 52-week low of $84.18 and a 52-week high of $115.00.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, May 1st. The insurance provider reported $2.02 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.05 by ($0.03). American Financial Group had a net margin of 9.45% and a return on equity of 13.90%. The company had revenue of $1.17 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.23 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $2.42 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts anticipate that American Financial Group will post 8.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, July 25th. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 15th will be given a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, July 12th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.52%. American Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 19.05%.

In related news, insider John B. Berding sold 31,522 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $101.75, for a total value of $3,207,363.50. Following the sale, the insider now owns 44,703 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,548,530.25. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Terry S. Jacobs sold 679 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $100.50, for a total value of $68,239.50. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 3,500 shares in the company, valued at approximately $351,750. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 398,413 shares of company stock valued at $40,950,043. Insiders own 11.90% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of AFG. Brand Asset Management Group Inc. purchased a new position in shares of American Financial Group during the 1st quarter valued at $30,000. Fort L.P. bought a new stake in American Financial Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $46,000. Quadrant Capital Group LLC increased its stake in American Financial Group by 3,170.6% during the first quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 556 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $53,000 after acquiring an additional 539 shares during the last quarter. Blue Sky Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in American Financial Group during the first quarter worth approximately $71,000. Finally, Advisor Group Inc. increased its stake in American Financial Group by 18.5% during the fourth quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 1,046 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $94,000 after acquiring an additional 163 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 63.17% of the company’s stock.

American Financial Group Company Profile

American Financial Group, Inc, an insurance holding company, provides property and casualty insurance products in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Property and Casualty Insurance, Annuity, and Other. It offers property and transportation insurance products, such as physical damage and liability coverage for buses, trucks and recreational vehicles, inland and ocean marine, agricultural-related products, and other property; specialty casualty insurance, including primarily excess and surplus, general liability, executive liability, professional liability, umbrella and excess liability, and specialty coverage in targeted markets, as well as customized programs for small to mid-sized businesses and workers' compensation insurance; and specialty financial insurance products comprising risk management insurance programs for leasing and financing institutions, surety and fidelity products, and trade credit insurance.

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