Van ECK Associates Corp boosted its stake in shares of Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT – Get Rating) by 9.9% in the third quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 3,281 shares of the financial services provider’s stock after purchasing an additional 295 shares during the quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp’s holdings in Essent Group were worth $114,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Essent Group by 0.5% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 14,995,922 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $617,982,000 after purchasing an additional 71,629 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Essent Group by 4.0% during the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 10,590,130 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $436,419,000 after purchasing an additional 411,585 shares during the period. Capital World Investors boosted its position in Essent Group by 10.2% during the 1st quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 8,781,249 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $361,875,000 after purchasing an additional 815,259 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its position in Essent Group by 7.0% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 4,375,800 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $180,327,000 after purchasing an additional 286,764 shares during the period. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. boosted its position in Essent Group by 1.7% during the 2nd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 3,800,201 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $147,827,000 after purchasing an additional 64,056 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.07% of the company’s stock.
Analysts Set New Price Targets
A number of brokerages have issued reports on ESNT. TheStreet lowered Essent Group from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 20th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reduced their price target on Essent Group from $53.00 to $50.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 10th. Royal Bank of Canada reduced their price target on Essent Group from $53.00 to $46.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Monday, November 7th. StockNews.com lowered Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, January 13th. Finally, Barclays lowered Essent Group from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and reduced their price target for the stock from $54.00 to $43.00 in a research report on Friday, January 6th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat, the company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $45.60.
Essent Group Stock Performance
Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT – Get Rating) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, November 4th. The financial services provider reported $1.66 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.55 by $0.11. Essent Group had a return on equity of 20.33% and a net margin of 84.17%. The company had revenue of $261.77 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $241.69 million. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Essent Group Ltd. will post 7.93 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Essent Group Increases Dividend
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 12th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 1st were paid a $0.23 dividend. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.28%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, November 30th. This is an increase from Essent Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. Essent Group’s payout ratio is currently 11.53%.
Insider Transactions at Essent Group
In other news, Director Aditya Dutt sold 6,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.23, for a total transaction of $235,380.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 23,023 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $903,192.29. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Company insiders own 2.90% 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.
- Get a free copy of the StockNews.com research report on Essent Group (ESNT)
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