Cetera Advisor Networks LLC acquired a new position in Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm acquired 5,852 shares of the financial services provider’s stock, valued at approximately $253,000.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 12.6% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 14,130,653 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $610,445,000 after purchasing an additional 1,577,248 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley lifted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 620.5% during the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 819,807 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $35,415,000 after purchasing an additional 706,027 shares during the last quarter. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan Trust Fund lifted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 189.1% during the fourth quarter. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan Trust Fund now owns 962,200 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $41,567,000 after purchasing an additional 629,400 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 15.2% during the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 3,661,453 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $158,174,000 after purchasing an additional 484,384 shares during the last quarter. Finally, King Street Capital Management L.P. purchased a new position in shares of Essent Group during the third quarter valued at approximately $15,174,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 95.43% of the company’s stock.
In other Essent Group news, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 3,850 shares of Essent Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.09, for a total value of $185,146.50. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 211,412 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,166,803.08. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 2.90% of the company’s stock.
Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, February 18th. The financial services provider reported $1.10 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.22 by ($0.12). Essent Group had a return on equity of 12.97% and a net margin of 46.59%. The company had revenue of $247.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $253.03 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.49 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts predict that Essent Group Ltd. will post 3.95 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 19th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, March 10th were given a $0.16 dividend. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.32%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, March 9th. Essent Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 11.31%.
Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. BTIG Research lifted their target price on shares of Essent Group from $51.00 to $58.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, December 17th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered shares of Essent Group from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $52.00 target price for the company. in a report on Tuesday, January 19th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Essent Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, February 11th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $47.75.
Essent Group Profile
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; and contract underwriting services.
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