Shares of Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT – Get Free Report) have earned an average recommendation of “Moderate Buy” from the seven ratings firms that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The average 12-month target price among analysts that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $56.25.
A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on ESNT. StockNews.com downgraded Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. Barclays started coverage on Essent Group in a report on Wednesday, November 15th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $60.00 target price on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada increased their target price on Essent Group from $56.00 to $58.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday. Finally, UBS Group assumed coverage on Essent Group in a report on Wednesday, December 6th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $54.00 price objective on the stock.
Essent Group Stock Performance
Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT – Get Free Report) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 9th. The financial services provider reported $1.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.59 by $0.05. Essent Group had a return on equity of 14.44% and a net margin of 62.75%. The firm had revenue of $297.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $286.18 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.37 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 29.3% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Essent Group will post 6.66 EPS for the current year.
Essent Group Increases Dividend
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 22nd. Investors of record on Wednesday, March 13th will be given a $0.28 dividend. This represents a $1.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.11%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, March 12th. This is a positive change from Essent Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.25. Essent Group’s dividend payout ratio is 15.38%.
Insider Activity at Essent Group
In other Essent Group news, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.00, for a total transaction of $275,000.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 247,969 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,638,295. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. 3.10% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Institutional Investors Weigh In On Essent Group
Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of ESNT. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. purchased a new position in Essent Group during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $26,000. Acadian Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Essent Group in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $31,000. GAMMA Investing LLC bought a new stake in shares of Essent Group in the 4th quarter worth approximately $37,000. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust lifted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 25.5% in the 2nd quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust now owns 1,155 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $54,000 after acquiring an additional 235 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Lazard Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Essent Group by 43.9% in the 1st quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 1,668 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $68,000 after acquiring an additional 509 shares during the last quarter. 91.77% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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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