Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Essent Group Ltd., through its subsidiaries, operates as a private mortgage insurance company. It serves originators of residential mortgage loans, such as regulated depository institutions, mortgage banks, credit unions, and other lenders. Essent Group Ltd. is based in Hamilton, Bermuda. “

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on Essent Group from $40.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Monday, May 15th. BidaskClub downgraded Essent Group from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 25th. ValuEngine upgraded Essent Group from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Friday, June 9th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upgraded Essent Group from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and raised their price target for the company from $43.00 to $44.00 in a research note on Wednesday, August 23rd. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG raised their price target on Essent Group from $42.00 to $48.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 8th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, four have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Essent Group currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $43.67.

Shares of Essent Group (NYSE ESNT) traded up 0.72% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $36.43. The stock had a trading volume of 426,284 shares. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $38.45 and its 200 day moving average is $37.02. Essent Group has a one year low of $25.72 and a one year high of $41.44. The company has a market capitalization of $3.40 billion, a PE ratio of 12.96 and a beta of 1.14.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, August 4th. The financial services provider reported $0.77 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $137.61 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $131.99 million. Essent Group had a return on equity of 18.77% and a net margin of 50.92%. Essent Group’s quarterly revenue was up 27.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.57 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that Essent Group will post $3.06 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 4,207 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.00, for a total value of $164,073.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 275,495 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,744,305. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP David B. Weinstock sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.95, for a total value of $77,900.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 30,785 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,199,075.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 31,918 shares of company stock valued at $1,244,860. Corporate insiders own 18.10% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Sei Investments Co. lifted its holdings in Essent Group by 2.6% during the 1st quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 2,909 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $105,000 after purchasing an additional 74 shares during the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA lifted its holdings in Essent Group by 14.0% during the 1st quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 2,924 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $106,000 after purchasing an additional 360 shares during the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank lifted its holdings in Essent Group by 10.1% during the 2nd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,145 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $117,000 after purchasing an additional 288 shares during the last quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in Essent Group during the 1st quarter worth approximately $120,000. Finally, Quantbot Technologies LP lifted its holdings in Essent Group by 186.3% during the 1st quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 4,203 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $152,000 after purchasing an additional 2,735 shares during the last quarter. 81.44% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Essent Group

Essent Group Ltd. is a private mortgage insurance company. The Company is engaged in offering private mortgage insurance and reinsurance for mortgages secured by residential properties located in the United States. Its products and services include mortgage insurance, contract underwriting, and Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance.

Analyst Recommendations for Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT)

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