American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The brokerage currently has a $116.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 10.21% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. 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. 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. Based on strong operational performance, it raised core net operating earnings of $6.40–$6.90 per share in 2017. However, while the 2017 estimates moved south over the last 60 days, the 2018 estimates remained constant over the same time frame. American Financial’s exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results. A still soft interest rate environment is expected to weigh on desired upside in investment results.”

A number of other research firms have also issued reports on AFG. BidaskClub lowered American Financial Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, June 24th. Buckingham Research assumed coverage on American Financial Group in a research report on Monday, September 11th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $103.00 price target on the stock. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company’s stock. American Financial Group currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $100.67.

Shares of American Financial Group (NYSE AFG) opened at 105.25 on Monday. American Financial Group has a 52 week low of $73.38 and a 52 week high of $105.58. The firm has a market cap of $9.26 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.86 and a beta of 0.84. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $101.63 and its 200-day moving average price is $99.47.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The insurance provider reported $1.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.31. The company had revenue of $1.07 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.12 billion. American Financial Group had a return on equity of 11.66% and a net margin of 11.89%. The firm’s revenue was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.28 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that American Financial Group will post $6.77 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, CEO S Craig Lindner sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.27, for a total transaction of $2,606,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Michelle A. Gillis sold 2,051 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.88, for a total transaction of $215,108.88. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 17,939 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,881,442.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 13.70% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Bank of Montreal Can grew its position in American Financial Group by 344.2% during the second quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 108,798 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $10,811,000 after buying an additional 84,306 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its stake in American Financial Group by 82.9% during the first quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 227,007 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $21,662,000 after acquiring an additional 102,874 shares during the period. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its holdings in American Financial Group by 20.5% in the 2nd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 950,796 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $94,480,000 after acquiring an additional 161,661 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its holdings in American Financial Group by 7.9% in the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 620,201 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $61,629,000 after acquiring an additional 45,232 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas raised its holdings in American Financial Group by 83.3% in the 2nd quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 10,039 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $998,000 after acquiring an additional 4,562 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.33% of the company’s stock.

American Financial Group Company Profile

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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