Principal Financial Group (PFG) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) 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 $83.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target points to a potential upside of 12.53% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Focus on fee-based revenue sources has been helping Principal Financial to earn steadily and limits exposure to the interest rate environment. The company targets a return on equity improvement of 30-60 basis points annually. Its inorganic story remains impressive with buyouts strengthening international footprint. The company’s assets under management have also been steadily increasing. It also remains focused on effective capital deployment to enhance the shareholder value, targeting $0.9-$1.3 billion in 2018. Estimates also moved up for 2018. However, higher leverage inducing increase in interest weigh on margin expansion remains a headwind. Shares of Principal Financial have underperformed the industry in a year. The company is set to report fourth-quarter results on Jan 29. A Zacks Rank of 2, which increases the predictive power of ESP, combined with an Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.”

PFG has been the subject of a number of other reports. Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a “market perform” rating and set a $76.00 price objective on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Monday. Goldman Sachs Group started coverage on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $70.00 price objective for the company. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on shares of Principal Financial Group from $67.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $73.00 price objective on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Monday, December 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $68.90.

Shares of Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) traded down $0.12 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $73.76. 442,496 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,080,000. The firm has a market capitalization of $21,300.00, a PE ratio of 12.09, a P/E/G ratio of 1.35 and a beta of 1.72. Principal Financial Group has a 52-week low of $56.12 and a 52-week high of $74.12. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 0.10 and a quick ratio of 0.10.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The financial services provider reported $1.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.30 by ($0.02). The business had revenue of $3.95 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.12 billion. Principal Financial Group had a net margin of 12.35% and a return on equity of 13.55%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.15 earnings per share. research analysts forecast that Principal Financial Group will post 5.22 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Daniel Joseph Houston sold 37,080 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.05, for a total transaction of $2,597,454.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Gary P. Scholten sold 24,310 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.59, for a total transaction of $1,740,352.90. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 369,535 shares of company stock worth $25,938,392. 1.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Sun Life Financial INC boosted its stake in Principal Financial Group by 21,822.2% in the second quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 1,973 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $126,000 after acquiring an additional 1,964 shares during the last quarter. First Heartland Consultants Inc. purchased a new position in Principal Financial Group in the third quarter valued at about $224,000. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. purchased a new position in Principal Financial Group in the third quarter valued at about $226,000. Private Advisor Group LLC purchased a new position in Principal Financial Group in the third quarter valued at about $255,000. Finally, Highbridge Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Principal Financial Group in the third quarter valued at about $268,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 68.64% of the company’s stock.

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About Principal Financial Group

Principal Financial Group, Inc is an investment management company. The Company offers a range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance. Its segments include Retirement and Income Solutions; Principal Global Investors, Principal International; U.S. Insurance Solutions, and Corporate.

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