Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Brown & Brown (NYSE:BRO) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Increased financial leverage and exposure to currency exchange rate fluctuations are headwinds for Brown & Brown. Also, escalating expenses are likely to hurt margins. For 2019, it estimates non-cash stock compensation cost to increase $3 million to $5 million, interest expense in the range of $66 million to $68 million, and amortization between $100 million and $102 million. Shares of Brown & Brown have underperformed the industry year to date. Nonetheless, Brown & Brown’s compelling portfolio with an impressive growth trajectory driven by organic and inorganic initiatives bode well. It estimates Hays acquisition to deliver $210 million to $220 million of annual revenues, $47 million to $53 million of EBITDAC and net income per share of 2 cents to 3 cents in 2019. A solid capital position drives it well for long-term growth. Sturdy performance is boosting cash flow, helping it deploy capital in shareholder-friendly moves.”

Separately, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Brown & Brown from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 2nd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $29.00.

NYSE:BRO opened at $29.01 on Monday. The stock has a market cap of $8.08 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.59, a PEG ratio of 2.18 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.49, a current ratio of 0.95 and a quick ratio of 0.95. Brown & Brown has a fifty-two week low of $24.34 and a fifty-two week high of $31.55.

Brown & Brown (NYSE:BRO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, January 28th. The financial services provider reported $0.26 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.27 by ($0.01). Brown & Brown had a net margin of 17.09% and a return on equity of 12.03%. The firm had revenue of $508.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $503.52 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.24 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Brown & Brown will post 1.33 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, EVP Robert W. Lloyd sold 10,601 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $29.29, for a total value of $310,503.29. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Anthony T. Strianese sold 35,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.17, for a total transaction of $1,020,950.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 17.12% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc boosted its holdings in shares of Brown & Brown by 2.2% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 24,202,436 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $715,666,000 after buying an additional 525,399 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Brown & Brown by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 21,351,938 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $588,460,000 after buying an additional 828,759 shares during the last quarter. Select Equity Group L.P. boosted its holdings in shares of Brown & Brown by 47.7% in the third quarter. Select Equity Group L.P. now owns 8,259,952 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $244,247,000 after buying an additional 2,668,708 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Brown & Brown by 0.8% in the third quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 5,084,800 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $150,358,000 after buying an additional 40,773 shares during the last quarter. Finally, APG Asset Management N.V. boosted its holdings in shares of Brown & Brown by 39.5% in the fourth quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 4,501,200 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $108,519,000 after buying an additional 1,273,500 shares during the last quarter. 72.22% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Brown & Brown Company Profile

Brown & Brown, Inc markets and sells insurance products in the United States, England, Canada, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. Its Retail segment offers property insurance relating to physical damage to property and resultant interruption of business, or extra expense caused by fire, windstorm, or other perils; casualty insurance relating to legal liabilities, professional liability, cyber-liability, workers' compensation, and commercial and private passenger automobile coverages; fidelity and surety bonds; and life, accident, disability, health, hospitalization, medical, dental, and other ancillary insurance products, as well as risk management, loss control surveys and analysis, consultation, and claims processing services.

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