Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Selective Insurance Group (SIGI) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Selective Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SIGI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Selective Insurance’s third-quarter earnings per share beat estimates and increased year over year, banking on disciplined underwriting franchise and strong underlying insurance operations performance. Exposure to cat loss poses an inherent risk to the P&C business, rendering volatility to the company’s earnings. Rising expenses remain a concern as it might restrict the operating margin expansion. Nonetheless, riding on high retention ratio, pure renewal price increases and new business growth, premiums should consistently improve, driving top-line growth. Backed by a rising interest rate environment, the company raised its after-tax net investment income forecast to $156 million for 2018. Geographic expansion plays a vital role when it comes to growth and diversification. The company also remains committed to adding shareholder value via effective capital deployment. Its shares of have surpassed the industry in a year.”

SIGI has been the topic of a number of other reports. BidaskClub lowered shares of Selective Insurance Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 26th. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a hold rating on shares of Selective Insurance Group in a research note on Thursday, August 2nd. ValuEngine lowered shares of Selective Insurance Group from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group initiated coverage on shares of Selective Insurance Group in a research note on Tuesday, August 7th. They set an underperform rating and a $54.00 price target on the stock. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $60.40.



NASDAQ SIGI opened at $64.07 on Friday. Selective Insurance Group has a one year low of $53.55 and a one year high of $65.93. The company has a current ratio of 0.33, a quick ratio of 0.30 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.60, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.12 and a beta of 1.26.

Selective Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SIGI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The insurance provider reported $0.99 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.89 by $0.10. Selective Insurance Group had a net margin of 6.34% and a return on equity of 11.62%. The business had revenue of $666.70 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $665.10 million. Equities analysts anticipate that Selective Insurance Group will post 3.4 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 3rd. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.20 per share. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.25%. This is a positive change from Selective Insurance Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 14th. Selective Insurance Group’s payout ratio is 23.15%.

In related news, Director Terrence W. Cavanaugh acquired 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 3rd. The shares were purchased at an average price of $61.47 per share, with a total value of $61,470.00. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Michael J. Morrissey sold 1,575 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.72, for a total transaction of $100,359.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 2.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SIGI. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB boosted its holdings in Selective Insurance Group by 55.1% during the first quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB now owns 7,316 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $444,000 after buying an additional 2,600 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Selective Insurance Group by 3.1% during the first quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 482,508 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $29,288,000 after buying an additional 14,483 shares in the last quarter. First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. purchased a new stake in Selective Insurance Group during the second quarter worth about $235,000. Krueger & Catalano Capital Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Selective Insurance Group during the second quarter worth about $1,842,000. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new stake in Selective Insurance Group during the second quarter worth about $4,471,000. 78.27% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Selective Insurance Group

Selective Insurance Group, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, provides insurance products and services in the United States. It operates in four segments: Standard Commercial Lines, Standard Personal Lines, Excess and Surplus (E&S) Lines, and Investments. The company's products and services include property insurance, which covers the financial consequences of accidental loss of an insured's real and/or personal property; and casualty insurance that covers the financial consequences of employee injuries in the course of employment, and bodily injury and/or property damage to a third party as a result of an insured's negligent acts, omissions, or legal liabilities.

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