Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:PFG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Principal Financial’s third-quarter 2016 earnings outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also improved year over year. Strong investment performance, expansion of the company’s solution set as well as strengthening relationships with customers and distributors led to outperformance. The company’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.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Deutsche Bank AG set a $48.00 target price on Principal Financial Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased their price objective on shares of 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 increased their price objective on shares of 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. JPMorgan Chase & Co. restated a “sell” rating and set a $46.00 price objective on shares of Principal Financial Group in a research note on Friday, July 29th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus upgraded shares of Principal Financial Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $55.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Sunday, July 31st. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $49.00.

Analyst Recommendations for Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG)

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) opened at 57.71 on Monday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $52.92 and a 200-day moving average price of $46.80. The company has a market capitalization of $16.60 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.53 and a beta of 1.68. Principal Financial Group has a 1-year low of $33.09 and a 1-year high of $58.09.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $1.15 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.03. Principal Financial Group had a return on equity of 12.34% and a net margin of 10.63%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.06 earnings per share. Equities analysts predict that Principal Financial Group will post $4.43 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 27th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 5th will be given a dividend of $0.43 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 1st. This is an increase from Principal Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.41. This represents a $1.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.98%. Principal Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 38.41%.

In other Principal Financial Group news, EVP Timothy Mark Dunbar sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total value of $260,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Karen E. Shaff sold 12,832 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.00, for a total transaction of $705,760.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.78% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. OLD Republic International Corp purchased a new stake in shares of Principal Financial Group during the second quarter worth about $10,278,000. North Star Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Principal Financial Group by 3.1% in the second quarter. North Star Asset Management Inc. now owns 350,983 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,429,000 after buying an additional 10,481 shares during the last quarter. DIAM Co. Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Principal Financial Group by 7.1% in the second quarter. DIAM Co. Ltd. now owns 29,309 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,184,000 after buying an additional 1,952 shares during the last quarter. Twin Capital Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Principal Financial Group during the second quarter worth about $2,296,000. Finally, AXA purchased a new stake in shares of Principal Financial Group during the first quarter worth about $454,000. 67.25% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Principal Financial Group Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:PFG

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