Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT – Free Report) had its price objective hoisted by Royal Bank of Canada from $56.00 to $58.00 in a research report sent to investors on Monday morning, Benzinga reports. They currently have an outperform rating on the financial services provider’s stock.
Several other research firms also recently commented on ESNT. Barclays began coverage on Essent Group in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. They set an overweight rating and a $60.00 price objective for the company. UBS Group began coverage on Essent Group in a research note on Wednesday, December 6th. They set a neutral rating and a $54.00 price target for the company. Finally, StockNews.com cut Essent Group from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat.com, Essent Group currently has a consensus rating of Moderate Buy and an average price target of $56.25.
Essent Group Trading Up 2.5 %
Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT – Get Free Report) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 9th. The financial services provider reported $1.64 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.59 by $0.05. Essent Group had a net margin of 62.75% and a return on equity of 14.44%. The firm had revenue of $297.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $286.18 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.37 EPS. Essent Group’s revenue for the quarter was up 29.3% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts predict that Essent Group will post 6.66 earnings per share for the current year.
Essent Group Increases Dividend
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 22nd. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, March 13th will be issued a $0.28 dividend. This represents a $1.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.11%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, March 12th. This is an increase from Essent Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.25. Essent Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 15.38%.
In other Essent Group news, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.00, for a total value of $275,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 247,969 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $13,638,295. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Insiders own 3.10% of the company’s stock.
Hedge Funds Weigh In On Essent Group
Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of ESNT. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Essent Group in the fourth quarter valued at $60,678,000. Capital World Investors increased its holdings 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 acquiring an additional 815,259 shares in the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its position in Essent Group by 1,442.0% during the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 638,753 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $2,590,000 after acquiring an additional 597,330 shares during the last quarter. DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main purchased a new stake in shares of Essent Group in the fourth quarter valued at about $17,606,000. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Essent Group by 4.0% in the first 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 last quarter. 91.77% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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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