American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) Rating Increased to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has a $108.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 8.58% from the company’s current price.

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.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on AFG. Buckingham Research raised shares of American Financial Group from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $120.00 price target for the company in a research report on Thursday, June 13th. ValuEngine raised shares of American Financial Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 29th.

AFG traded down $2.86 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $99.47. 11,570 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 357,143. American Financial Group has a 52 week low of $84.18 and a 52 week high of $114.65. The firm has a market cap of $9.22 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.84, a PEG ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 0.85. The company has a quick ratio of 0.15, a current ratio of 0.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $103.36.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 6th. The insurance provider reported $2.12 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.01 by $0.11. American Financial Group had a net margin of 9.29% and a return on equity of 13.92%. The firm had revenue of $1.20 billion during the quarter. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $2.04 EPS. American Financial Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts expect that American Financial Group will post 8.6 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Carl H. Lindner III sold 50,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $100.50, for a total value of $5,025,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director William W. Verity sold 1,200 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.07, for a total transaction of $124,884.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 6,678 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $694,979.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 205,401 shares of company stock valued at $21,083,827 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 11.90% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Brand Asset Management Group Inc. bought a new position in American Financial Group in the 1st quarter worth approximately $30,000. Quadrant Capital Group LLC boosted its stake in American Financial Group by 3,170.6% in the 1st quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 556 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $53,000 after purchasing an additional 539 shares during the period. Vigilant Capital Management LLC bought a new position in American Financial Group in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $59,000. Blue Sky Asset Management LLC bought a new position in American Financial Group in the 1st quarter worth approximately $71,000. Finally, Altshuler Shaham Ltd bought a new position in American Financial Group in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $90,000. 62.99% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About American Financial Group

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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