Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG) from a buy rating to a sell rating in a report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “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. Nonetheless, 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. Also, shares of American Financial have outperformed the industry year to date. However, while the 2017 estimates moved south over the last 60 days, the 2018 estimates remained constant over the same time frame.”

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on AFG. BidaskClub raised American Financial Group from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, July 7th. Buckingham Research assumed coverage on American Financial Group in a research report on Monday, September 11th. They set a neutral rating and a $103.00 price objective for the company. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $100.67.

Shares of American Financial Group (AFG) traded down 0.1162% on Tuesday, reaching $105.1277. The company had a trading volume of 84,044 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $9.25 billion, a PE ratio of 11.8480 and a beta of 0.84. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $101.63 and a 200-day moving average price of $99.47. American Financial Group has a 52-week low of $73.38 and a 52-week high of $105.58.

American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The insurance provider reported $1.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.30 by $0.31. The business had revenue of $1.07 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.12 billion. American Financial Group had a net margin of 11.89% and a return on equity of 11.66%. American Financial Group’s revenue was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.28 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that American Financial Group will post $6.77 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 25th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 13th will be paid a $0.35 dividend. This is an increase from American Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.31. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 12th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.33%. American Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 10.57%.

In other news, insider Michelle A. Gillis sold 2,051 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.88, for a total transaction of $215,108.88. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 17,939 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,881,442.32. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO S Craig Lindner sold 25,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.27, for a total transaction of $2,606,750.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 13.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AFG. Burney Co. increased its stake in American Financial Group by 0.5% during the second quarter. Burney Co. now owns 5,174 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $515,000 after acquiring an additional 25 shares during the period. Mackenzie Financial Corp raised its holdings 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 valued at $616,000 after acquiring an additional 30 shares in the last quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. raised its holdings 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 valued at $241,000 after acquiring an additional 30 shares in the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its holdings 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 valued at $615,000 after acquiring an additional 40 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado raised its holdings 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 valued at $220,000 after acquiring an additional 42 shares in the last quarter. 62.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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