Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Essent Group Ltd., through its subsidiaries, operates as a private mortgage insurance company. It serves originators of residential mortgage loans, such as regulated depository institutions, mortgage banks, credit unions, and other lenders. Essent Group Ltd. is based in Hamilton, Bermuda. “

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on ESNT. BTIG Research upgraded shares of Essent Group from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $44.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Essent Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, September 16th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $43.00 price target on shares of Essent Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, August 7th. Barclays PLC raised their price target on shares of Essent Group from $43.00 to $45.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, August 7th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 9th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $43.43.

Essent Group (NYSE ESNT) traded down 1.53% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $39.92. The stock had a trading volume of 900,333 shares. Essent Group has a one year low of $25.84 and a one year high of $41.44. The stock has a market cap of $3.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.21 and a beta of 1.14. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $38.79 and a 200 day moving average price of $37.57.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last issued its earnings results on Friday, August 4th. The financial services provider reported $0.77 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.09. Essent Group had a net margin of 50.92% and a return on equity of 18.77%. The firm had revenue of $137.61 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $131.99 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.57 earnings per share. Essent Group’s revenue was up 27.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Essent Group will post $3.06 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, VP David B. Weinstock sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.51, for a total transaction of $77,020.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 4,600 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $41.04, for a total transaction of $188,784.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 262,902 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,789,498.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 24,918 shares of company stock worth $987,730 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 18.10% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ESNT. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Essent Group by 6,828.8% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,844,752 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $211,403,000 after acquiring an additional 5,760,398 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Essent Group by 9.1% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,826,998 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $290,695,000 after buying an additional 655,163 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. boosted its holdings in Essent Group by 18.7% during the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 3,755,887 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $139,494,000 after buying an additional 592,824 shares in the last quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. bought a new stake in Essent Group during the second quarter worth approximately $19,348,000. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. bought a new stake in Essent Group during the second quarter worth approximately $395,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 81.40% of the company’s stock.

About Essent Group

Essent Group Ltd. is a private mortgage insurance company. The Company is engaged in offering private mortgage insurance and reinsurance for mortgages secured by residential properties located in the United States. Its products and services include mortgage insurance, contract underwriting, and Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance.

Analyst Recommendations for Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT)

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