ProAssurance Co. (PRA) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

ProAssurance Co. (NYSE:PRA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday, May 10th. The brokerage presently has a $66.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 9.63% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “ProAssurance’s earnings per share of $0.62 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13% and also improved 32% year over year on higher revenues. Year to date, the ProAssurance stock has gained 5.7%, outperforming the Zacks categorized Property & Casualty insurance industry’s increase of only 1.6%. The company’s robust inorganic growth and strong capital position have enabled it to boost investors’ return by undertaking share buybacks as well as paying quarterly dividends and special dividends. Prudent operating and financial leverage, responsible pricing, loss reserve practice and conservative investments in assets will likely drive growth. However the company’s exposure to persistently low interest rate as well as reduced retention rates raises concern. Volatility in premium retention in its physician business are other headwinds.”

Several other brokerages have also issued reports on PRA. JMP Securities boosted their price objective on shares of ProAssurance from $57.00 to $60.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, January 23rd. Boenning Scattergood restated a “neutral” rating on shares of ProAssurance in a report on Monday, April 17th.

ProAssurance (NYSE PRA) opened at 60.20 on Wednesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $59.94 and its 200-day moving average is $58.25. ProAssurance has a 52-week low of $50.50 and a 52-week high of $63.53. The company has a market capitalization of $3.21 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.59 and a beta of 0.46.

ProAssurance (NYSE:PRA) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 4th. The insurance provider reported $0.62 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.54 by $0.08. ProAssurance had a return on equity of 7.13% and a net margin of 18.29%. The business had revenue of $223 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $211.53 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.46 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 15.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that ProAssurance will post $2.32 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 12th. Investors of record on Tuesday, June 27th will be issued a $0.31 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 23rd. This represents a $1.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.06%. ProAssurance’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 50.61%.

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A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of PRA. Polar Capital LLP raised its stake in shares of ProAssurance by 2.8% in the third quarter. Polar Capital LLP now owns 277,500 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $14,563,000 after buying an additional 7,500 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its position in ProAssurance by 2.9% in the third quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 392,689 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $20,608,000 after buying an additional 11,038 shares in the last quarter. Princeton Alpha Management LP purchased a new position in ProAssurance during the third quarter valued at $278,000. Suntrust Banks Inc. increased its position in ProAssurance by 4.7% in the third quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 26,508 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,389,000 after buying an additional 1,190 shares in the last quarter. Finally, California State Teachers Retirement System increased its position in ProAssurance by 0.8% in the third quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 115,256 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $6,049,000 after buying an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 79.43% of the company’s stock.

About ProAssurance

ProAssurance Corporation (ProAssurance) is a holding company for property and casualty insurance companies. The Company provides professional liability insurance for healthcare professionals and facilities, professional liability insurance for attorneys, liability insurance for medical technology and life sciences risks, and workers’ compensation insurance.

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