American Financial Group (AFG) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. The company also witnessed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2017 and 2018 move north over the last 60 days. American Financial is well poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth and restructuring initiatives. Better industry fundamentals, with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio, should drive overall growth. Consistent price increase in property and casualty business, combined ratio that compares favorably with industry average, a strong balance sheet, low leverage cost, and disciplined capital management are positives. Based on the first nine months’ results, it lowered core net operating earnings to a range of $5.90-$6.20 per share in 2017. However, its exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on the company. Buckingham Research assumed coverage on American Financial Group in a research note on Monday, September 11th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $103.00 target price on the stock. BidaskClub cut American Financial Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, August 25th.

Shares of American Financial Group (AFG) opened at $108.36 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $9,356.69, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.91, a PEG ratio of 2.88 and a beta of 0.86. American Financial Group has a 52 week low of $85.57 and a 52 week high of $108.64. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24, a quick ratio of 0.19 and a current ratio of 0.19.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The insurance provider reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.85 by $0.21. The company had revenue of $1.27 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $979.50 million. American Financial Group had a return on equity of 10.90% and a net margin of 10.22%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.51 EPS. research analysts predict that American Financial Group will post 6.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other American Financial Group news, Director Virginia Drosos sold 1,438 shares of American Financial Group stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.21, for a total transaction of $149,853.98. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 8,034 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $837,223.14. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Carl H. Lindner III sold 150,000 shares of American Financial Group stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.71, for a total value of $15,706,500.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 201,438 shares of company stock worth $21,166,854 over the last 90 days. 14.90% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of AFG. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in American Financial Group by 9.7% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,488,701 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $644,783,000 after buying an additional 572,969 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its holdings in shares of American Financial Group by 22.8% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,641,452 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $262,481,000 after purchasing an additional 490,781 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its holdings in shares of American Financial Group by 166.0% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 482,671 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $49,931,000 after purchasing an additional 301,200 shares in the last quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of American Financial Group by 35.0% during the second quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 913,932 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $90,817,000 after purchasing an additional 237,195 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. purchased a new position in shares of American Financial Group during the second quarter worth about $20,516,000. 61.40% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About American Financial Group

American Financial Group, Inc (AFG) is a holding company engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance businesses. The Company, through Great American Insurance Group, focuses on commercial products for businesses, and is engaged in the sale of fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions and education markets.

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