Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of XL Group (NYSE:XL) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of XL Group underperformed the industry quarter to date. The company also witnessed 2017 and 2018 estimates moving south in the last 30 days. Exposure to catastrophes induces volatility to underwriting results. The company estimates pre-tax catastrophe loss of $250 million from California wildfire for the fourth quarter. Negative pricing across business lines as well as increasing expenses remain headwinds. However, XL Group holds a premier position in global specialty insurance and reinsurance markets owing to the acquisition of Catlin Group in 2015. XL Group remains focused on its insurance and reinsurance business lines that provide the best return on capital over the pricing cycle, while focusing on tapping opportunities in the emerging economies. XL Group also engages in shareholder-friendly moves and estimates not less than $700 million shares in buy back in 2017.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Deutsche Bank downgraded XL Group from a hold rating to a sell rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $42.00 to $37.00 in a research note on Friday, October 13th. Bank of America dropped their price objective on XL Group from $49.00 to $47.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a buy rating and issued a $53.00 price objective on shares of XL Group in a research note on Tuesday, August 29th. Credit Suisse Group upped their price objective on XL Group from $40.00 to $41.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Finally, Citigroup upped their price objective on XL Group from $40.00 to $41.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $44.92.

XL Group (XL) opened at $36.25 on Wednesday. XL Group has a 12 month low of $35.04 and a 12 month high of $47.27. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28, a quick ratio of 0.35 and a current ratio of 0.35.

XL Group (NYSE:XL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The insurance provider reported ($4.00) earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of ($3.91) by ($0.09). XL Group had a negative return on equity of 4.03% and a negative net margin of 2.51%. The business had revenue of $2.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.11 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.44 EPS. XL Group’s quarterly revenue was up 9.0% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that XL Group will post -1.98 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.22 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.43%. XL Group’s payout ratio is -71.54%.

In other XL Group news, Director John Kcb Vereker sold 2,697 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.59, for a total transaction of $98,683.23. Following the sale, the director now owns 66,455 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,431,588.45. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders own 3.02% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in XL Group by 1.1% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 25,841,471 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,131,856,000 after acquiring an additional 288,860 shares during the period. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC raised its holdings in XL Group by 31.4% during the 3rd quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 17,072,900 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $673,526,000 after acquiring an additional 4,077,346 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its holdings in XL Group by 11.8% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 8,783,932 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $343,540,000 after acquiring an additional 925,470 shares during the period. Boston Partners raised its holdings in XL Group by 25.8% during the 3rd quarter. Boston Partners now owns 5,597,711 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $220,830,000 after acquiring an additional 1,148,252 shares during the period. Finally, Pzena Investment Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of XL Group by 1.7% in the second quarter. Pzena Investment Management LLC now owns 5,197,849 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $227,666,000 after purchasing an additional 85,913 shares during the period. 99.06% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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XL Group Company Profile

XL Group plc is an insurance and reinsurance company providing property, casualty and specialty products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises. The Company operates through two segments: Insurance and Reinsurance. The Company’s Insurance segment is organized into four product divisions: Global Casualty (Casualty); Global Energy Property, & Construction (EPC); Global Professional (Professional), and Global Specialty (Specialty).

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