Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:PFG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released 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. With respect to quarterly results, the company’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.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus raised shares of Principal Financial Group from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $55.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Sunday, July 31st. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a sell rating and issued a $46.00 target price on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Friday, July 29th. Royal Bank Of Canada increased their target price on shares of Principal Financial Group from $52.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, November 17th. Credit Suisse Group AG began coverage on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Friday, October 7th. They issued an underperform rating and a $53.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co. reiterated an outperform rating on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Friday, September 23rd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $51.43.

Analyst Recommendations for Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG)

Shares of Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) opened at 58.41 on Thursday. Principal Financial Group has a one year low of $33.09 and a one year high of $58.85. The company has a 50-day moving average of $54.47 and a 200-day moving average of $47.68. The company has a market capitalization of $16.80 billion, a PE ratio of 13.69 and a beta of 1.68.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $1.15 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.12 by $0.03. Principal Financial Group had a net margin of 10.63% and a return on equity of 12.34%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.06 EPS. On average, analysts anticipate that Principal Financial Group will post $4.43 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 27th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 5th will be paid a $0.43 dividend. This is a boost from Principal Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.41. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 1st. This represents a $1.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.94%. Principal Financial Group’s payout ratio is 38.41%.

In other news, EVP Timothy Mark Dunbar sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on 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 legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Gary P. Scholten sold 13,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $754,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.78% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of PFG. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Principal Financial Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $100,000. Acrospire Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Principal Financial Group by 17.4% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 2,700 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 400 shares during the last quarter. Virtus Investment Advisers Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Principal Financial Group during the third quarter valued at approximately $114,000. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Principal Financial Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $121,000. Finally, Huntington National Bank boosted its position in shares of Principal Financial Group by 17.9% in the third quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 2,493 shares of the company’s stock valued at $129,000 after buying an additional 378 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 67.45% 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 services. The Company’s segments include Retirement and Income Solutions; Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S.

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