Axis Capital (AXS) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “AXIS Capital continues to build on its Specialty Insurance, Reinsurance, Accident and Health to pave way for long-term growth. The company remains focused on deploying resources prudently while enhancing efficiencies at the same time. Also, the insurer has been improving its portfolio mix and underwriting profitability apart from strengthening the casualty and professional lines in the insurance segment. Its inorganic growth story remains impressive with strategic buyouts. However, exposure to catastrophe loss has been denting the insurer’s underwriting results and dragging the bottom line. Also, stiff competition in the reinsurance industry and escalating expenses restrict margin expansion. Shares of AXIS Capital have lagged the industry in a year’s time. With respect to quarterly results, AXIS Capital’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also declined year over year mainly due to cat loss.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. ValuEngine raised shares of Axis Capital from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Deutsche Bank dropped their target price on shares of Axis Capital from $55.00 to $54.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a report on Friday, February 9th. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $52.00 target price on shares of Axis Capital in a report on Wednesday, February 7th. Finally, UBS Group raised shares of Axis Capital from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $55.00 target price for the company in a report on Thursday, January 11th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Axis Capital has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $60.22.

Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS) traded down $0.21 during trading on Monday, hitting $54.96. 1,193,490 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 954,946. Axis Capital has a fifty-two week low of $47.43 and a fifty-two week high of $69.11. The stock has a market capitalization of $4,591.73, a price-to-earnings ratio of -11.00, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.50 and a beta of 0.49. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30, a current ratio of 0.49 and a quick ratio of 0.49.

Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, February 7th. The insurance provider reported $0.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.25 by ($0.01). Axis Capital had a negative return on equity of 4.48% and a negative net margin of 8.04%. The business had revenue of $729.42 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $549.41 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.14 EPS. Axis Capital’s quarterly revenue was up 57.1% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts expect that Axis Capital will post 4.32 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Charles A. Davis acquired 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 28th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $49.90 per share, with a total value of $1,247,500.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 34,063 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,699,743.70. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 1.89% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AXS. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its holdings in shares of Axis Capital by 237.6% in the third quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 3,572 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $205,000 after purchasing an additional 2,514 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company purchased a new position in Axis Capital during the second quarter worth about $207,000. Magnetar Financial LLC purchased a new position in Axis Capital during the third quarter worth about $224,000. Levin Capital Strategies L.P. purchased a new position in Axis Capital during the fourth quarter worth about $226,000. Finally, Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. purchased a new position in Axis Capital during the third quarter worth about $256,000. 88.16% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Axis Capital

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited is a holding company. The Company provides a range of specialty (re)insurance, through subsidiaries and branch networks- based in Bermuda, the United States, Canada, Europe and Singapore. Its business consists of two global underwriting platforms: AXIS Insurance and AXIS Re.

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