Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) Raised to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday, 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. “

Several other research firms have also commented on ESNT. Royal Bank of Canada increased their price objective on shares of Essent Group from $58.00 to $60.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft increased their target price on shares of Essent Group from $61.00 to $62.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, May 10th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $54.00.

Shares of NYSE:ESNT opened at $47.56 on Wednesday. The stock’s fifty day moving average is $49.07. Essent Group has a fifty-two week low of $30.75 and a fifty-two week high of $54.22. The company has a market capitalization of $5.37 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.32, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.95 and a beta of 1.33.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, May 7th. The financial services provider reported $1.21 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.22 by ($0.01). Essent Group had a net margin of 41.10% and a return on equity of 10.54%. The business had revenue of $244.80 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $245.06 million. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.52 EPS. Essent Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Essent Group will post 5.13 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CFO Lawrence E. Mcalee, Jr. sold 2,494 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total value of $124,700.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 194,078 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,703,900. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Douglas J. Pauls sold 3,003 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.12, for a total transaction of $141,501.36. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 4,845 shares in the company, valued at $228,296.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 39,276 shares of company stock worth $1,944,347. 2.80% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ESNT. First Trust Advisors LP boosted its holdings in shares of 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 valued at $5,389,000 after buying an additional 29,966 shares in the last quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 19.7% in the 4th quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 4,245 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $183,000 after buying an additional 700 shares in the last quarter. NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. boosted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 11.4% in the 4th quarter. NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. now owns 24,400 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,054,000 after buying an additional 2,500 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System boosted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 7.7% in the 4th quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 284,297 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $12,282,000 after buying an additional 20,355 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bailard Inc. acquired a new stake in Essent Group in the 4th quarter worth approximately $217,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 93.69% of the company’s stock.

About Essent Group

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

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