Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Brown & Brown (NYSE:BRO) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Brown & Brown’s increased financial leverage and exposure to currency exchange rate fluctuations are headwinds for Brown & Brown. Also, escalating expenses are likely to hurt margins. For 2019, it estimates non-cash stock compensation cost to increase $3 million to $5 million, interest expense in the range of $66 million to $68 million, and amortization between $100 million and $102 million. Shares of Brown & Brown have underperformed the industry year to date. However, compelling portfolio with an impressive growth trajectory driven by organic and inorganic initiatives bode well. It estimates Hays acquisition to deliver $210 million to $220 million of annual revenues, $47 million to $53 million of EBITDAC and net income per share of 2 cents to 3 cents in 2019. A solid capital position drives it well for long-term growth. Sturdy performance is boosting cash flow, helping it deploy capital in shareholder-friendly moves.”

Separately, ValuEngine raised shares of Brown & Brown from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 2nd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Brown & Brown presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $29.00.

BRO opened at $28.71 on Monday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.95, a current ratio of 0.95 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.49. The firm has a market cap of $8.13 billion, a PE ratio of 23.34, a PEG ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 0.73. Brown & Brown has a twelve month low of $24.34 and a twelve month high of $31.55.

Brown & Brown (NYSE:BRO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, January 28th. The financial services provider reported $0.26 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.27 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $508.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $503.52 million. Brown & Brown had a return on equity of 12.03% and a net margin of 17.09%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.24 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Brown & Brown will post 1.33 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, February 20th. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 6th were given a dividend of $0.08 per share. This represents a $0.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.11%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, February 5th. Brown & Brown’s payout ratio is currently 26.02%.

In other Brown & Brown news, EVP Robert W. Lloyd sold 10,601 shares of Brown & Brown stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $29.29, for a total value of $310,503.29. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Anthony T. Strianese sold 35,000 shares of Brown & Brown stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.17, for a total transaction of $1,020,950.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 17.12% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in BRO. State of Alaska Department of Revenue grew its stake in Brown & Brown by 1.9% during the fourth quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 24,886 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $685,000 after acquiring an additional 464 shares in the last quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. grew its stake in Brown & Brown by 4.5% during the fourth quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 13,547 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $373,000 after acquiring an additional 585 shares in the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank grew its stake in Brown & Brown by 3.9% during the fourth quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 16,518 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $455,000 after acquiring an additional 626 shares in the last quarter. ETF Managers Group LLC grew its stake in Brown & Brown by 15.8% during the fourth quarter. ETF Managers Group LLC now owns 5,127 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $141,000 after acquiring an additional 699 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Gotham Asset Management LLC grew its stake in Brown & Brown by 4.4% during the fourth quarter. Gotham Asset Management LLC now owns 17,754 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $489,000 after acquiring an additional 751 shares in the last quarter. 71.54% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Brown & Brown Company Profile

Brown & Brown, Inc markets and sells insurance products in the United States, England, Canada, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. Its Retail segment offers property insurance relating to physical damage to property and resultant interruption of business, or extra expense caused by fire, windstorm, or other perils; casualty insurance relating to legal liabilities, professional liability, cyber-liability, workers' compensation, and commercial and private passenger automobile coverages; fidelity and surety bonds; and life, accident, disability, health, hospitalization, medical, dental, and other ancillary insurance products, as well as risk management, loss control surveys and analysis, consultation, and claims processing services.

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