American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $108.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. It is well-poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth and is thus prudently investing in businesses it is knowledgeable about. The deal between National Interstate, and Atlas Financial to be the exclusive underwriter the latter’s paratransit business bears the testimony to the same. Consistent price increase in P&C business should favor results. Better industry fundamentals with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio should drive growth. A strong balance sheet, low leverage cost and an efficient capital management are tailwinds. It expects operating earnings in the range of $8.40-$8.80 in 2019. Second-quarter EPS beat estimates on strong operating profits and investment results. However, soft Annuity business and exposure to cat loss are concerns.”

AFG has been the subject of several other reports. ValuEngine raised shares of American Financial Group from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, May 29th. Buckingham Research upgraded shares of American Financial Group from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $120.00 target price for the company in a research report on Thursday, June 13th.

AFG opened at $99.70 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.15, a current ratio of 0.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.23. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $103.20 and a 200-day moving average price of $100.14. American Financial Group has a twelve month low of $84.18 and a twelve month high of $114.65. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.84 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.87, a PEG ratio of 1.85 and a beta of 0.85.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 6th. The insurance provider reported $2.12 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.01 by $0.11. American Financial Group had a net margin of 9.29% and a return on equity of 13.39%. The firm had revenue of $1.20 billion during the quarter. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $2.04 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts expect that American Financial Group will post 8.62 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 25th. Investors of record on Monday, July 15th were given a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, July 12th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.60%. American Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 19.05%.

In related news, Director James E. Evans sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $98.77, for a total transaction of $197,540.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 132,309 shares in the company, valued at $13,068,159.93. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Carl H. Lindner III sold 50,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $100.50, for a total transaction of $5,025,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 205,401 shares of company stock valued at $21,083,827 over the last 90 days. 11.90% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in AFG. Nordea Investment Management AB boosted its position in shares of American Financial Group by 101.0% in the first quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 421,064 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $40,511,000 after purchasing an additional 211,586 shares during the period. State of Alaska Department of Revenue boosted its position in shares of American Financial Group by 1.9% in the second quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 12,782 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,309,000 after purchasing an additional 234 shares during the period. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. boosted its position in shares of American Financial Group by 8.9% in the first quarter. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. now owns 7,359 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $708,000 after purchasing an additional 600 shares during the period. Walthausen & Co. LLC boosted its position in shares of American Financial Group by 7.3% in the first quarter. Walthausen & Co. LLC now owns 63,839 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $6,142,000 after purchasing an additional 4,350 shares during the period. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its position in shares of American Financial Group by 63.0% in the second quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 189,511 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $19,419,000 after purchasing an additional 73,212 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 62.99% of the company’s stock.

American Financial Group Company Profile

American Financial Group, Inc, an insurance holding company, provides property and casualty insurance products in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Property and Casualty Insurance, Annuity, and Other. It offers property and transportation insurance products, such as physical damage and liability coverage for buses, trucks and recreational vehicles, inland and ocean marine, agricultural-related products, and other property; specialty casualty insurance, including primarily excess and surplus, general liability, executive liability, professional liability, umbrella and excess liability, and specialty coverage in targeted markets, as well as customized programs for small to mid-sized businesses and workers' compensation insurance; and specialty financial insurance products comprising risk management insurance programs for leasing and financing institutions, surety and fidelity products, and trade credit insurance.

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