American Financial Group (AFG) Downgraded 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 research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. The company 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. Investment income has also been rising and the company expects the same to increase 4-6% in 2018. 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. The company estimates operating earnings in the range of $7.90-$8.40 per share in 2018. However, exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results. The company is expected to report fist quarter earnings in the first week of May. A Zacks Rank #3 combined with Earnings ESP of +2.81 makes up confident of an positive surprise.”

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AFG has been the subject of several other research reports. ValuEngine upgraded shares of American Financial Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Bank of America upped their price target on shares of American Financial Group from $120.00 to $122.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 1st. Finally, Sandler O’Neill reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $119.00 price target on shares of American Financial Group in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $116.75.

Shares of NYSE:AFG traded up $1.83 during trading on Monday, hitting $111.50. 73,587 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 349,896. The company has a market capitalization of $9,697.68, a PE ratio of 17.02, a P/E/G ratio of 0.86 and a beta of 0.78. The company has a current ratio of 0.18, a quick ratio of 0.18 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24. American Financial Group has a 12-month low of $93.25 and a 12-month high of $121.69.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 31st. The insurance provider reported $2.20 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.67 by $0.53. The business had revenue of $1.23 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.11 billion. American Financial Group had a net margin of 6.92% and a return on equity of 11.09%. The company’s revenue was up 7.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.98 EPS. equities research analysts predict that American Financial Group will post 8.2 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, VP Vito C. Peraino sold 51,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $113.86, for a total value of $5,806,860.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Gregory G. Joseph purchased 500 shares of American Financial Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 26th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $113.50 per share, with a total value of $56,750.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 13.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in AFG. Cerebellum GP LLC purchased a new position in American Financial Group during the 4th quarter worth $111,000. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. purchased a new position in American Financial Group during the 4th quarter worth $119,000. Pin Oak Investment Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in American Financial Group during the 4th quarter worth $122,000. Signition LP purchased a new position in American Financial Group during the 4th quarter worth $204,000. Finally, GSA Capital Partners LLP purchased a new position in American Financial Group during the 3rd quarter worth $211,000. Institutional investors own 62.32% of the company’s stock.

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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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