Essent Group Ltd (NYSE:ESNT) Sees Large Drop in Short Interest

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Essent Group Ltd (NYSE:ESNT) saw a large decline in short interest in the month of July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 960,000 shares, a decline of 13.9% from the June 30th total of 1,114,400 shares. Approximately 1.0% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 624,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.5 days.

Essent Group stock traded up $0.47 during trading on Thursday, reaching $45.98. 378,443 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 594,028. The company’s 50-day moving average is $47.17 and its two-hundred day moving average is $45.93. Essent Group has a 52-week low of $31.08 and a 52-week high of $50.51. The firm has a market cap of $4.52 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.48, a PEG ratio of 0.84 and a beta of 1.30.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, August 2nd. The financial services provider reported $1.39 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.30 by $0.09. The company had revenue of $211.89 million during the quarter. Essent Group had a net margin of 64.34% and a return on equity of 21.05%. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Essent Group will post 5.47 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 16th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 4th will be given a $0.15 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 3rd. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.30%.

In related news, VP David B. Weinstock sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.87, for a total transaction of $95,740.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Joseph Hissong sold 19,886 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.34, for a total transaction of $961,289.24. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 57,519 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,780,468.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 31,849 shares of company stock valued at $1,555,279 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 2.90% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of ESNT. Nuveen Asset Management LLC boosted its position in Essent Group by 12,399.2% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 1,435,411 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $67,450,000 after buying an additional 1,423,927 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new position in Essent Group in the 4th quarter valued at about $30,423,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in Essent Group by 241.7% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 945,573 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $44,432,000 after buying an additional 668,852 shares during the last quarter. Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. purchased a new position in Essent Group in the 2nd quarter valued at about $30,020,000. Finally, Clark Capital Management Group Inc. purchased a new position in Essent Group in the 1st quarter valued at about $20,554,000. 90.52% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on ESNT shares. ValuEngine cut shares of Essent Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 1st. BTIG Research reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $54.00 price target on shares of Essent Group in a research report on Sunday, August 4th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Essent Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $51.00 price target for the company in a research report on Wednesday, August 7th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $50.50.

Essent Group Company Profile

Essent Group Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides private mortgage insurance and reinsurance for mortgages secured by residential properties located in the United States. The company also provides information technology maintenance and development services; customer support-related services; and contract underwriting services.

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