American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG) Upgraded to “Hold” by Zacks Investment Research

American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday, July 24th.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial outperformed the Zacks categorized Property and Casualty industry year to date. It 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. A strong balance sheet, low leverage cost, and disciplined capital management are positives. Based on strong operational performance, it expects core net operating earnings of $6.20–$6.70 per share in 2017. However, American Financial’s exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results. A still soft interest rate environment is expected to weigh on investment results. It is set to report second quarter results on Aug 1. However, a Zacks Rank #3 when combined with an Earnings ESP of -2.31% makes prediction difficult for beat or miss.”

Separately, BidaskClub cut shares of American Financial Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 13th.

Shares of American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) opened at 101.66 on Monday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $102.00 and a 200-day moving average price of $97.62. The stock has a market cap of $8.95 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.46 and a beta of 0.83. American Financial Group has a one year low of $73.38 and a one year high of $105.58.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 1st. The insurance provider reported $1.61 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.31. The firm had revenue of $1.07 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.12 billion. American Financial Group had a net margin of 11.89% and a return on equity of 11.66%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.28 EPS. Equities analysts predict that American Financial Group will post $6.80 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other American Financial Group news, CEO S Craig Lindner sold 11,178 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $98.30, for a total value of $1,098,797.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Carl H. Lindner III sold 8,263 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $98.61, for a total transaction of $814,814.43. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 327,169 shares of company stock valued at $32,890,665 in the last three months. 14.90% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in American Financial Group by 10,325.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,915,732 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $564,476,000 after buying an additional 5,858,989 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its stake in American Financial Group by 22.8% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,641,452 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $262,481,000 after buying an additional 490,781 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in American Financial Group by 7.1% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,517,519 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $621,902,000 after buying an additional 431,262 shares during the period. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its stake in American Financial Group by 35.0% in the second quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 913,932 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $90,817,000 after buying an additional 237,195 shares during the period. Finally, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. purchased a new stake in American Financial Group during the second quarter valued at about $20,516,000. 62.86% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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