American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Wednesday.

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. Estimates for 2017 and 2018 also moved north over the last 60 days.  However, 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.”

Separately, BidaskClub downgraded shares of American Financial Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, August 25th.

Shares of American Financial Group (AFG) traded up 3.14% on Wednesday, hitting $98.54. The stock had a trading volume of 580,310 shares. The company has a market cap of $8.67 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.11 and a beta of 0.84. The company has a 50-day moving average of $102.04 and a 200-day moving average of $98.58. American Financial Group has a 52-week low of $73.38 and a 52-week high of $105.58.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last announced its 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. American Financial Group had a return on equity of 11.66% and a net margin of 11.89%. The business had revenue of $1.07 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.12 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.28 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that American Financial Group will post $6.80 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, CEO S Craig Lindner sold 25,000 shares of American Financial Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.27, for a total transaction of $2,606,750.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Michelle A. Gillis sold 2,051 shares of American Financial Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.88, for a total transaction of $215,108.88. Following the sale, 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. Insiders have sold 143,320 shares of company stock valued at $14,690,115 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 14.90% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Russell Investments Group Ltd. raised its stake in American Financial Group by 17.9% in the first quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 104,148 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $9,941,000 after buying an additional 15,811 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its stake in American Financial Group by 114.4% in the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 290,597 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $27,728,000 after buying an additional 155,085 shares in the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can raised its stake in American Financial Group by 9.8% in the first quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 44,573 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $4,251,000 after buying an additional 3,986 shares in the last quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan raised its stake in American Financial Group by 1.0% in the first quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan now owns 29,690 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $2,833,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Finally, American Century Companies Inc. bought a new position in American Financial Group in the first quarter worth approximately $4,694,000. 62.66% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About American Financial Group

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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