Essent Group Ltd (NYSE:ESNT) has been given an average recommendation of “Hold” by the seven brokerages that are currently covering the company, Marketbeat Ratings reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating on the company. The average 1-year target price among brokers that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $52.60.
A number of analysts have commented on ESNT shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, February 20th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their price objective on shares of Essent Group from $57.50 to $56.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, February 18th. MKM Partners upgraded shares of Essent Group from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, March 11th. Deutsche Bank increased their price objective on shares of Essent Group from $65.00 to $67.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 19th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada cut their price objective on shares of Essent Group from $62.00 to $36.00 and set an “above average” rating for the company in a report on Thursday. They noted that the move was a valuation call.
ESNT opened at $31.00 on Friday. Essent Group has a twelve month low of $17.52 and a twelve month high of $55.84. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $42.30 and a 200 day moving average price of $49.15. The company has a market cap of $2.82 billion, a PE ratio of 5.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.36 and a beta of 1.26.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 20th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 10th were issued a $0.16 dividend. This is an increase from Essent Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.15. The ex-dividend date was Monday, March 9th. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.06%. Essent Group’s dividend payout ratio is presently 11.31%.
In other news, CFO Lawrence E. Mcalee, Jr. sold 7,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.85, for a total transaction of $388,875.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 199,741 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,356,570.85. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Lawrence E. Mcalee, Jr. sold 700 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.50, for a total transaction of $36,750.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 199,041 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,449,652.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 8,800 shares of company stock valued at $457,125. 2.90% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in ESNT. CWM LLC increased its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 134.9% during the 4th quarter. CWM LLC now owns 740 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $38,000 after buying an additional 425 shares during the last quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale acquired a new stake in shares of Essent Group during the 4th quarter worth approximately $138,000. Advisor Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 26.4% during the 4th quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,759 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $143,000 after buying an additional 577 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank increased its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 108.4% during the 4th quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 3,361 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $175,000 after buying an additional 1,748 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Profund Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Essent Group during the 4th quarter worth approximately $207,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.28% of the company’s stock.
About Essent Group
Essent Group Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides private mortgage insurance and reinsurance for mortgages secured by residential properties located in the United States. The company also provides information technology maintenance and development services; customer support-related services; and contract underwriting services.
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