Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday. The firm currently has a $41.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 11.96% from the stock’s current price.

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. “

A number of other brokerages also recently commented on ESNT. Deutsche Bank AG increased their price objective on shares of Essent Group from $42.00 to $48.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 8th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Essent Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday. Barclays PLC reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Essent Group in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $40.00 price objective on shares of Essent Group in a research report on Tuesday, May 30th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 9th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Essent Group has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $43.33.

Shares of Essent Group (NYSE ESNT) traded up 1.24% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $36.62. 799,670 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.42 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.03 and a beta of 1.14. Essent Group has a 1-year low of $25.72 and a 1-year high of $41.44. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $38.37 and its 200 day moving average price is $37.02.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, August 4th. The financial services provider reported $0.77 EPS for the quarter, beating 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 company had revenue of $137.61 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $131.99 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.57 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 27.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict that Essent Group will post $3.06 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, VP David B. Weinstock sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.95, for a total value of $77,900.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 30,785 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,199,075.75. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 4,600 shares of the stock in a transaction 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 completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 262,902 shares in the company, valued at $10,789,498.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 31,918 shares of company stock worth $1,244,860 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 18.10% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ESNT. Nationwide Fund Advisors grew its position in shares of Essent Group by 31.0% in the 1st quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 142,902 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $5,169,000 after buying an additional 33,816 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its position in shares of Essent Group by 27.7% in the 1st quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 739,280 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $26,740,000 after buying an additional 160,551 shares during the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP grew its position in shares of Essent Group by 55.0% in the 1st quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 75,959 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,747,000 after buying an additional 26,957 shares during the last quarter. US Bancorp DE grew its position in shares of Essent Group by 4.6% in the 1st quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 4,946 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $179,000 after buying an additional 218 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in shares of Essent Group by 89.2% in the 1st quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 837,165 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $30,279,000 after buying an additional 394,599 shares during the last quarter. 81.44% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Essent Group Company Profile

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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT)

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