Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG) to “Hold”

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Arthur J. Gallagher’s third-quarter 2017 earnings outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also improved year over year on robust organic growth and solid segmental performance. Shares of Arthur J. Gallagher have outperformed the industry, since the release of its third-quarter results. Arthur J. Gallagher’s inorganic story seems impressive with strategic buyouts, with the company intending to pursue smaller tuck-in mergers in 2017. It remains focused on tapping opportunities in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. The company remains focused on enhancing productivity and quality that is a part of its value creation strategy. A solid performance is leading to sufficient cash flows help it deploy capital in shareholder-friendly moves. Escalating expenses and weak commercial P&C rates pose concerns. Adverse foreign exchange also will weigh on results.”

Several other research firms have also recently commented on AJG. Credit Suisse Group raised their target price on shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. from $68.00 to $69.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday. Barclays PLC raised their target price on shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, October 16th. Deutsche Bank AG cut shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $64.00 target price on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 target price on shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in a research note on Tuesday, October 10th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company reissued a “buy” rating and set a $66.00 target price on shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in a research note on Sunday, September 17th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $64.38.

Shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG) traded up 0.65% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $63.15. 212,699 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $11.38 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.46 and a beta of 1.21. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $61.57 and its 200-day moving average price is $58.46. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.16 and a 12-month high of $63.34.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The financial services provider reported $0.81 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.79 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $1.58 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.60 billion. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. had a net margin of 7.62% and a return on equity of 13.56%. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s quarterly revenue was up 6.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.77 EPS. Analysts predict that Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. will post $2.99 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, insider Susan E. Pietrucha sold 3,601 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.78, for a total transaction of $208,065.78. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 4,055 shares in the company, valued at approximately $234,297.90. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Joel D. Cavaness sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.73, for a total transaction of $587,300.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 96,186 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,649,003.78. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 23,568 shares of company stock valued at $1,393,186. Insiders own 1.60% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AJG. FMR LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 0.3% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 1,067,375 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $60,349,000 after buying an additional 3,059 shares during the period. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 6.3% in the first quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 218,768 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $12,369,000 after buying an additional 13,032 shares during the period. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans boosted its holdings in shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 5.8% in the first quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 6,745 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $380,000 after buying an additional 370 shares during the period. MARSHALL WACE ASIA Ltd acquired a new position in shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in the first quarter worth about $398,000. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its holdings in shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 4.4% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 724,482 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $40,963,000 after buying an additional 30,274 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 81.38% of the company’s stock.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Company Profile

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co and its subsidiaries are engaged in providing insurance brokerage and consulting services, and third-party claims settlement and administration services to both domestic and international entities. The Company operates through three segments: brokerage, risk management and corporate.

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