Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has a $59.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 12.23% from the stock’s previous close.

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. “

A number of other brokerages have also issued reports on ESNT. ValuEngine lowered Essent Group from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 10th. BTIG Research reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Essent Group in a research report on Sunday, August 4th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $52.50.

Essent Group stock traded up $0.11 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $52.57. 456,443 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 580,063. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $48.97 and its 200-day moving average price is $47.69. The company has a market cap of $5.13 billion, a PE ratio of 10.84, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.94 and a beta of 1.23. Essent Group has a fifty-two week low of $31.08 and a fifty-two week high of $53.16.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, August 2nd. The financial services provider reported $1.39 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.30 by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $211.89 million for the quarter. Essent Group had a return on equity of 21.05% and a net margin of 64.34%. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Essent Group will post 5.47 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Essent Group news, CAO David B. Weinstock sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.01, for a total value of $94,020.00. Following the transaction, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 24,118 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,133,787.18. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 6,000 shares of company stock worth $288,000. 2.90% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ESNT. State of New Jersey Common Pension Fund D bought a new stake in shares of Essent Group in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $4,891,000. Financial Advantage Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Essent Group in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $40,000. Alberta Investment Management Corp increased its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 5.6% in the 3rd quarter. Alberta Investment Management Corp now owns 92,600 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,414,000 after acquiring an additional 4,900 shares during the last quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL increased its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 188.2% in the 3rd quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 14,700 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $701,000 after acquiring an additional 9,600 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Strs Ohio increased its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 127.2% in the 3rd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 84,300 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,018,000 after acquiring an additional 47,200 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.93% 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. The company also provides information technology maintenance and development services; customer support-related services; and contract underwriting services.

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