Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell

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Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Monday, Zacks.com reports. They presently have a $67.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price points to a potential upside of 5.58% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of AXIS Capital have outperformed the industry year to date. The company continues to build on its Specialty Insurance, Reinsurance plus Accident and Health to pave the way for long-term growth. AXIS Capital is focused on deploying resources prudently while enhancing efficiencies at the same time. Also, the company has been improving its portfolio mix and underwriting profitability apart from fortifying the casualty and professional lines in the insurance segment. Effective capital deployment boosts shareholders value. However, exposure to cat loss has been denting its underwriting results and affecting combined ratio. Stiff competition in the reinsurance industry and escalating expenses due to higher net losses and loss expenses could restrict margin expansion. “

Several other research firms have also commented on AXS. ValuEngine lowered Axis Capital from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 2nd. MKM Partners boosted their price objective on shares of Axis Capital from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, September 9th. Finally, Buckingham Research boosted their price objective on shares of Axis Capital from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, September 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.50.

Shares of AXS stock traded up $0.10 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $63.46. 212,260 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 594,482. The stock has a market cap of $5.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.05, a P/E/G ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.32. The stock’s fifty day moving average is $64.22 and its two-hundred day moving average is $60.95. Axis Capital has a 52-week low of $48.27 and a 52-week high of $67.51. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36, a current ratio of 0.56 and a quick ratio of 0.56.

Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The insurance provider reported $1.62 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.28 by $0.34. Axis Capital had a net margin of 2.97% and a return on equity of 4.56%. The firm had revenue of $1.07 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.05 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.27 EPS. Axis Capital’s revenue was up 7.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Axis Capital will post 4.49 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AXS. Nuveen Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Axis Capital in the second quarter valued at approximately $65,303,000. Boston Partners raised its holdings in shares of Axis Capital by 266.5% in the 2nd quarter. Boston Partners now owns 1,395,202 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $83,248,000 after acquiring an additional 1,014,568 shares during the last quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD raised its holdings in shares of Axis Capital by 14.7% in the 2nd quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 6,331,132 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $377,652,000 after acquiring an additional 812,096 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its holdings in shares of Axis Capital by 31.5% in the 2nd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 2,547,330 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $151,948,000 after acquiring an additional 610,400 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC raised its holdings in shares of Axis Capital by 29.0% in the 2nd quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 2,706,581 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $161,448,000 after acquiring an additional 608,021 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.53% of the company’s stock.

Axis Capital Company Profile

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, provides various specialty insurance and reinsurance products worldwide. It operates through two segments, Insurance and Reinsurance. The Insurance segment offers property insurance products for commercial buildings, residential premises, construction projects, and onshore energy installations; marine insurance products covering offshore energy, cargo, liability, recreational marine, fine art, specie, hull, and war; and terrorism, aviation, credit and political risk, and liability insurance products.

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