Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

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. “

Separately, ValuEngine lowered shares of Essent Group from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Thursday, December 26th.

Shares of NYSE ESNT traded up $0.44 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $51.08. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 345,836 shares, compared to its average volume of 519,729. The stock has a fifty day moving average price of $52.71 and a 200 day moving average price of $50.07. Essent Group has a one year low of $36.91 and a one year high of $55.84. The firm has a market capitalization of $5.00 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.53, a P/E/G ratio of 0.84 and a beta of 1.20.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, November 8th. The financial services provider reported $1.47 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.38 by $0.09. The company had revenue of $226.39 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $216.35 million. Essent Group had a net margin of 64.58% and a return on equity of 20.86%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 22.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.18 earnings per share. As a group, analysts expect that Essent Group will post 5.61 EPS for the current year.

In related news, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 2,381 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.01, for a total transaction of $128,597.81. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 210,404 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,363,920.04. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Lawrence E. Mcalee, Jr. sold 7,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.85, for a total transaction of $388,875.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 199,741 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,356,570.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 55,149 shares of company stock worth $3,002,379 in the last ninety days. 2.90% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ESNT. First Trust Advisors LP grew its stake in Essent Group by 31.9% in the 1st quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 124,034 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $5,389,000 after buying an additional 29,966 shares in the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its stake in Essent Group by 23.8% in the 2nd quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 1,704 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $76,000 after buying an additional 328 shares in the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC grew its stake in Essent Group by 8.9% in the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 151,102 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $7,100,000 after buying an additional 12,289 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in Essent Group by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 7,962,417 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $374,154,000 after buying an additional 133,818 shares in the last quarter. Finally, A.R.T. Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Essent Group in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $324,000. 91.12% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Essent Group Company Profile

Essent Group Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides private mortgage insurance and reinsurance for mortgages secured by residential properties located in the United States. The company also provides information technology maintenance and development services; customer support-related services; and contract underwriting services.

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