American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Thursday. The firm presently has a $112.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 11.22% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. The company is well poised to benefit from impressive inorganic growth and restructuring initiatives. Better industry fundamentals, with strong pricing and a higher renewal ratio, should drive overall growth. Consistent price increase in property and casualty business, combined ratio that compares favorably with industry average, a strong balance sheet, low leverage cost, and disciplined capital management are positives. Based on strong operational performance, it raised core net operating earnings of $6.40–$6.90 per share in 2017. Estimates for 2017 and 2018 also moved north over the last 60 days.  However, American Financial’s exposure to cat loss is a risk to underwriting results. A still soft interest rate environment is expected to weigh on desired upside in investment results.”

A number of other research firms have also issued reports on AFG. BidaskClub upgraded shares of American Financial Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 17th. Buckingham Research began coverage on shares of American Financial Group in a research note on Monday, September 11th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $103.00 target price on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $99.33.

American Financial Group (AFG) opened at 100.70 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $8.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.35 and a beta of 0.84. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $101.87 and a 200-day moving average of $98.77. American Financial Group has a one year low of $73.38 and a one year high of $105.58.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The insurance provider reported $1.61 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.31. American Financial Group had a net margin of 11.89% and a return on equity of 11.66%. The company had revenue of $1.07 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.12 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.28 EPS. American Financial Group’s quarterly revenue was up 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that American Financial Group will post $6.73 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, CEO S Craig Lindner sold 25,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.27, for a total value of $2,606,750.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider Michelle A. Gillis sold 2,051 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.88, for a total transaction of $215,108.88. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 17,939 shares in the company, valued at $1,881,442.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 130,528 shares of company stock worth $13,396,460 over the last quarter. 14.90% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Burney Co. grew its position in American Financial Group by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. Burney Co. now owns 5,174 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $515,000 after purchasing an additional 25 shares during the last quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp grew its position in American Financial Group by 0.5% in the 1st quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 6,452 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $616,000 after purchasing an additional 30 shares during the last quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. grew its position in American Financial Group by 1.3% in the 2nd quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 2,425 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $241,000 after purchasing an additional 30 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue grew its position in American Financial Group by 0.7% in the 2nd quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 6,190 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $615,000 after purchasing an additional 40 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado grew its position in American Financial Group by 1.9% in the 2nd quarter. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado now owns 2,210 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $220,000 after purchasing an additional 42 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.66% of the company’s stock.

About American Financial Group

American Financial Group, Inc (AFG) is a holding company engaged primarily in property and casualty insurance businesses. The Company, through Great American Insurance Group, focuses on commercial products for businesses, and is engaged in the sale of fixed and fixed-indexed annuities in the retail, financial institutions and education markets.

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