American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $112.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 13.35% from the stock’s current price.

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.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. BidaskClub raised American Financial Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, July 7th. Buckingham Research initiated coverage on American Financial Group in a research note on Monday. They set a “neutral” rating and a $103.00 target price for the company. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $99.33.

Shares of American Financial Group (AFG) traded down 0.84% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $98.81. 441,801 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $8.70 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.14 and a beta of 0.84. American Financial Group has a 52 week low of $73.38 and a 52 week high of $105.58. The company has a 50 day moving average of $101.85 and a 200 day moving average of $98.72.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The insurance provider reported $1.61 earnings per share 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 analysts’ expectations of $1.12 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.28 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that American Financial Group will post $6.73 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, CEO Carl H. Lindner III sold 56,353 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $102.17, for a total transaction of $5,757,586.01. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Carl H. Lindner III sold 47,124 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $102.22, for a total value of $4,817,015.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 130,528 shares of company stock valued at $13,396,460 in the last ninety days. Company insiders own 14.90% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Achmea Investment Management B.V. acquired a new position in shares of American Financial Group in the 2nd quarter valued at $235,000. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC acquired a new position in shares of American Financial Group in the 2nd quarter valued at $4,879,000. USA Financial Portformulas Corp boosted its position in shares of American Financial Group by 7.6% in the 2nd quarter. USA Financial Portformulas Corp now owns 5,780 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $574,000 after purchasing an additional 406 shares during the period. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd acquired a new position in shares of American Financial Group in the 2nd quarter valued at $462,000. Finally, Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. boosted its position in shares of American Financial Group by 2.2% in the 2nd quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 22,029 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $2,189,000 after purchasing an additional 483 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.66% of the company’s stock.

American Financial Group Company Profile

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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