Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:PFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Principal Financial’s focus on fee-based revenue sources has been helping it to earn steadily, and limits exposure to the interest rate environment. Annuity and insurance business also offer sustained earnings growth. The company’s inorganic story remains impressive with buyouts strengthening its international footprint. It also remains focused on effective capital deployment to enhance shareholder value. However, the company’s investment results will likely be hurt by a soft interest rate environment, restricting any major improvement. Escalating expenses pose concerns. The compnay is set to release third quarter results on Oct 27. However, our proven model cannot conclusively state if it will beat earnings because though Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of a beat, combined with Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes prediction difficult. Nonetheless, the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.11, up 4.72% year over year.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on PFG. Deutsche Bank AG cut their price objective on Principal Financial Group from $46.00 to $43.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, July 7th. RBC Capital Markets set a $52.00 price objective on Principal Financial Group and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, August 19th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted their price objective on Principal Financial Group from $40.00 to $45.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, September 23rd. Barclays PLC boosted their price objective on Principal Financial Group from $41.00 to $47.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Friday, July 29th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG initiated coverage on Principal Financial Group in a research note on Friday, October 7th. They set an “underperform” rating and a $53.00 price objective for the company. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Principal Financial Group presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $48.73.

Analyst Recommendations for Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG)

Shares of Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) opened at 52.71 on Thursday. Principal Financial Group has a 1-year low of $33.09 and a 1-year high of $53.11. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $49.91 and a 200 day moving average price of $44.79. The company has a market capitalization of $15.16 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.53 and a beta of 1.66.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $1.15 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.06 by $0.09. Principal Financial Group had a return on equity of 12.52% and a net margin of 10.20%. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.09 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Principal Financial Group will post $4.37 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Friday, September 2nd were issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 31st. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.11%. This is a positive change from Principal Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.39. Principal Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 38.86%.

In related news, EVP Timothy Mark Dunbar sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total transaction of $260,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 1.78% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in PFG. Ngam Advisors L.P. purchased a new stake in shares of Principal Financial Group during the first quarter worth approximately $465,000. BlackRock Group LTD increased its position in shares of Principal Financial Group by 2.2% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 2,202,240 shares of the company’s stock valued at $86,878,000 after buying an additional 47,210 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its position in shares of Principal Financial Group by 3.2% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 7,368,413 shares of the company’s stock valued at $290,684,000 after buying an additional 227,460 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Japan Co. Ltd increased its position in shares of Principal Financial Group by 0.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Japan Co. Ltd now owns 358,502 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,143,000 after buying an additional 1,958 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Columbia Partners L L C Investment Management bought a new position in shares of Principal Financial Group during the first quarter valued at about $954,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 67.13% of the company’s stock.

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 services. The Company’s segments include Retirement and Income Solutions; Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S.

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