Alliancebernstein L.P. Purchases 863,323 Shares of Essent Group Ltd (NYSE:ESNT)

Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its position in shares of Essent Group Ltd (NYSE:ESNT) by 29.9% during the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 3,749,521 shares of the financial services provider’s stock after purchasing an additional 863,323 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. owned about 3.81% of Essent Group worth $194,938,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. CWM LLC boosted its holdings in Essent Group by 134.9% in the fourth quarter. CWM LLC now owns 740 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $38,000 after acquiring an additional 425 shares during the last quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale bought a new stake in Essent Group in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $138,000. Advisor Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Essent Group by 26.4% in the fourth quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,759 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $143,000 after acquiring an additional 577 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank boosted its holdings in Essent Group by 108.4% in the fourth quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 3,361 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $175,000 after acquiring an additional 1,748 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Investment Group LLC bought a new stake in Essent Group in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $208,000. Institutional investors own 92.28% of the company’s stock.

Shares of ESNT opened at $24.59 on Thursday. Essent Group Ltd has a 52-week low of $17.52 and a 52-week high of $55.84. The business’s 50 day moving average price is $42.83 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $49.27. The firm has a market cap of $2.11 billion, a PE ratio of 4.35, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.33 and a beta of 1.26.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 14th. The financial services provider reported $1.49 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.46 by $0.03. Essent Group had a return on equity of 20.08% and a net margin of 64.05%. The firm had revenue of $228.80 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $225.94 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.31 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 18.5% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Essent Group Ltd will post 6 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 20th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 10th were paid a $0.16 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Monday, March 9th. This is a positive change from Essent Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.15. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.60%. Essent Group’s payout ratio is 11.31%.

In other news, CFO Lawrence E. Mcalee, Jr. sold 700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.50, for a total transaction of $36,750.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 199,041 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,449,652.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Lawrence E. Mcalee, Jr. sold 7,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.85, for a total value of $388,875.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 199,741 shares in the company, valued at $10,356,570.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 8,800 shares of company stock worth $457,125. Insiders own 2.90% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts recently commented on ESNT shares. Deutsche Bank upped their target price on Essent Group from $65.00 to $67.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 19th. MKM Partners upgraded Essent Group from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 target price on the stock in a report on Wednesday, March 11th. Zacks Investment Research cut Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, February 20th. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Essent Group in a report on Wednesday, February 19th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Essent Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 18th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Essent Group presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $57.00.

About Essent Group

Essent Group Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides private mortgage insurance and reinsurance for mortgages secured by residential properties located in the United States. The company also provides information technology maintenance and development services; customer support-related services; and contract underwriting services.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT)

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