Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) Receives Average “Buy” Rating from Analysts

The shares of Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE: ESNT – Get Rating) received an average recommendation of “Buy” from the seven rating agencies that currently cover the company, reports MarketBeat.com. An equity research analyst rated the stock with a hold recommendation and six gave the company a buy recommendation. The 12-month average target price among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock over the past year is $58.33.

A number of equity research analysts have recently released reports on ESNT stocks. StockNews.com upgraded the Essent Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a Tuesday, March 1 research report. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upgraded Essent Group shares from a ‘market performance’ rating to an ‘outperform’ rating and set a price target of $51.00 on the stock in a report research on Monday, December 13. They noted that the move was a review call. Zacks Investment Research moved shares of Essent Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a target price of $52.00 for the company in a research report on Thursday, January 20. Finally, Barclays raised its price target on Essent Group shares from $65.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a Monday, January 10 research report.

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In addition, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 616 shares of the Essent group in a transaction on Wednesday January 12. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $30,800.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, accessible via this link. Additionally, CEO Mark Casale sold 6,572 shares of the company in a trade dated Thursday, January 13. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.02, for a total transaction of $328,731.44. The disclosure of this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 7,288 shares of the company worth $364,531 over the past three months. Insiders hold 2.80% of the shares of the company.

A number of large investors have recently shifted their ESNT holdings. Rockefeller Capital Management LP increased its position in Essent Group shares by 73.7% in the fourth quarter. Rockefeller Capital Management LP now owns 554 shares of the financial services provider worth $25,000 after purchasing an additional 235 shares during the period. First Horizon Advisors Inc. increased its position in Essent Group shares by 198.0% in the third quarter. First Horizon Advisors Inc. now owns 599 shares of the financial services provider worth $29,000 after buying 398 additional shares in the last quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Essent Group during Q4 for a value of approximately $31,000. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its position in Essent Group shares by 59.3% during the third quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 2,263 shares of the financial services provider worth $100,000 after acquiring 842 additional shares in the last quarter. Finally, Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio strengthened its position in Essent Group shares by 14.1% during the 4th quarter. The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System now owns 2,945 shares of the financial services provider worth $134,000 after acquiring 363 additional shares last quarter. 92.10% of the shares are currently held by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of NYSE ESNT opened at $41.53 on Tuesday. Essent Group has a 12-month low of $39.26 and a 12-month high of $54.22. The company’s fifty-day moving average is $44.72 and its 200-day moving average is $45.36. The stock has a market capitalization of $4.52 billion, a price/earnings ratio of 6.80, a P/E/G ratio of 0.64 and a beta of 1.30.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNT – Get Rating) last announced its results on Friday, February 11. The financial services provider reported EPS of $1.64 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.40 by $0.24. Essent Group achieved a net margin of 66.29% and a return on equity of 16.62%. The company posted revenue of $256.90 million for the quarter, versus a consensus estimate of $240.66 million. During the same period last year, the company posted EPS of $1.10. The company’s quarterly revenue increased 3.9% year over year. As a group, analysts expect Essent Group to post EPS of 6.54 for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, March 21. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 10 received a dividend of $0.20 per share. This represents a dividend of $0.80 on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.93%. This is a boost from Essent Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.19. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 9. Essent Group’s payout ratio is 13.09%.

About Essent Group (Get a rating)

Essent Group Ltd. is a holding company that provides banking services. It offers mortgage insurance, reinsurance and risk management products. The company was founded by Mark A. Casale on July 1, 2008 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.

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Analyst Recommendations for Essent Group (NYSE: ESNT)

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