Principal Financial Group Inc (PFG) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Principal Financial Group Inc (NYSE:PFG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Principal Financial’s third-quarter earnings missed estimates but improved year over year. While investment performance and net cash flows remained strong, growth in operating earnings across all businesses was above market average. Focus on fee-based revenue sources has been helping it to earn steadily and limits exposure to the interest rate environment. Principal Financial targets a return on equity improvement of 30-60 basis points annually. Its inorganic story remains impressive with buyouts strengthening its international footprint. Its recent announcement to buy MetLife's Afore will consolidate its presence in Mexico. It also remains focused on effective capital deployment to enhance the shareholder value, targeting $0.8-$1 billion in 2017. However, higher leverage inducing increase in interest weigh on margin expansion remains a headwind. Also, shares of Principal Financial have underperformed the industry year to date.”

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on PFG. BidaskClub raised Principal Financial Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $73.00 price target on shares of Principal Financial Group in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $68.00 price target on shares of Principal Financial Group in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Barclays PLC boosted their price target on Principal Financial Group from $61.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Friday, August 11th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on Principal Financial Group from $67.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. Principal Financial Group presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $67.40.

Shares of Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) traded up $1.19 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $68.32. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,233,564 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,001,683. The company has a market capitalization of $19.89 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.43 and a beta of 1.71.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The financial services provider reported $1.28 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.30 by ($0.02). Principal Financial Group had a return on equity of 13.55% and a net margin of 12.35%. The company had revenue of $3.95 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.12 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.15 EPS. equities analysts predict that Principal Financial Group will post 5.21 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, insider James P. Mccaughan sold 8,953 shares of Principal Financial Group stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.12, for a total value of $556,160.36. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Karen E. Shaff sold 17,082 shares of Principal Financial Group stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $68.00, for a total value of $1,161,576.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 143,537 shares of company stock worth $9,313,955 over the last quarter. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Principal Financial Group by 2.0% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 30,237,096 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,937,291,000 after acquiring an additional 587,221 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Principal Financial Group by 3.3% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 18,306,790 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,172,916,000 after acquiring an additional 592,172 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its stake in Principal Financial Group by 6,656.1% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 3,020,597 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $193,529,000 after acquiring an additional 2,975,888 shares during the period. Schroder Investment Management Group increased its stake in Principal Financial Group by 6.9% during the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 1,545,645 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $99,740,000 after acquiring an additional 100,091 shares during the period. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in Principal Financial Group by 1.2% during the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 1,475,069 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $94,514,000 after acquiring an additional 17,889 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 68.25% of the company’s stock.

About Principal Financial Group

Principal Financial Group, Inc is an investment management company. The Company offers a range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance. Its segments include Retirement and Income Solutions; Principal Global Investors, Principal International; U.S. Insurance Solutions, and Corporate.

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