Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of AXIS Capital have outperformed the Zacks categorized Property and Casualty (P&C) industry, in the last one year. Estimates has also been moving north over the last 60 days. It continues to build on its Specialty Insurance, Reinsurance, and Accident and Health to pave way for long-term growth. It remains focused on deploying resources prudently, enhancing efficiencies and better serving clients and brokers across the globe. It has also been improving its portfolio mix and underwriting profitability apart from strengthening the casualty and professional lines in the insurance segment. However, stiff competition in the reinsurance industry slowing growth and lowering profitability along with escalating expenses eating into margins remain concerns.”

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on AXS. Citigroup Inc started coverage on Axis Capital Holdings Limited in a research note on Tuesday, November 22nd. They issued a sell rating and a $55.00 price target on the stock. Macquarie cut Axis Capital Holdings Limited from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, December 2nd. Wells Fargo & Co cut Axis Capital Holdings Limited from a market perform rating to an underperform rating in a research note on Monday, January 9th. MKM Partners upgraded Axis Capital Holdings Limited from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $80.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Thursday, February 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets restated a market perform rating and issued a $67.00 price target (up from $64.00) on shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited in a research note on Friday, February 3rd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. Axis Capital Holdings Limited has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $65.71.

Shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) traded down 0.92% during trading on Friday, reaching $67.64. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 198,469 shares. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $67.98 and a 200 day moving average price of $62.00. Axis Capital Holdings Limited has a 52 week low of $51.01 and a 52 week high of $71.06. The firm has a market capitalization of $5.83 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.31 and a beta of 0.55.

Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 1st. The company reported $1.14 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.27. Axis Capital Holdings Limited had a return on equity of 8.36% and a net margin of 12.82%. The company had revenue of $464.39 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $602.70 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.23 earnings per share. Axis Capital Holdings Limited’s quarterly revenue was down 22.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Axis Capital Holdings Limited will post $4.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 17th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 31st will be given a dividend of $0.38 per share. This represents a $1.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.23%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 29th. Axis Capital Holdings Limited’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 29.57%.

In other news, Director Michael A. Butt sold 158,946 shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.38, for a total transaction of $10,391,889.48. Following the sale, the director now owns 999,982 shares in the company, valued at $65,378,823.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 2.00% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited by 10.1% in the third quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 16,122 shares of the company’s stock worth $876,000 after buying an additional 1,474 shares during the period. Fox Run Management L.L.C. purchased a new stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited during the third quarter worth approximately $342,000. Capstone Asset Management Co. boosted its stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited by 6.1% in the third quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 4,888 shares of the company’s stock worth $266,000 after buying an additional 280 shares during the period. First Quadrant L P CA purchased a new stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited during the third quarter worth approximately $203,000. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue boosted its stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited by 2.6% in the third quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 9,945 shares of the company’s stock worth $540,000 after buying an additional 251 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 90.07% of the company’s stock.

About Axis Capital Holdings Limited

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited is a holding company for the AXIS group of companies. The Company provides a range of specialty (re)insurance, through subsidiaries and branch networks- based in Bermuda, the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Singapore. It operates in two segments: AXIS Insurance and AXIS Re.

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