Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of AmTrust Financial Services (NASDAQ:AFSI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Monday morning.
According to Zacks, “AmTrust Financial’s leadership position in commercial small business, expansion of other segments and an impressive inorganic growth story poise it well for growth. The company also aims to build an investment portfolio that returns in line with the sector. The slow but improving rate environment also raises optimism. Plus, a strong balance sheet facilitates growth initiatives and effective capital deployment. The company also witnessed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 moved 5.2% north over the last 60 days. However, a high level of debt increases interest burden and escalates expenses, thereby hurting margin. Exposure to cat environment induced volatility in underwriting results. Shares of AmTrust Financial have underperformed the industry in a year's time.”
A number of other brokerages have also recently issued reports on AFSI. FBR & Co cut AmTrust Financial Services from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $14.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. ValuEngine cut AmTrust Financial Services from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. B. Riley reissued a neutral rating and set a $12.00 price objective on shares of AmTrust Financial Services in a report on Monday, November 6th. BidaskClub raised AmTrust Financial Services from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Finally, JMP Securities cut AmTrust Financial Services from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Monday, November 13th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. AmTrust Financial Services currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $15.14.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Investors of record on Monday, April 2nd will be issued a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 29th. This represents a $0.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.14%. AmTrust Financial Services’s dividend payout ratio is -212.50%.
Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. bought a new position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services in the fourth quarter valued at about $101,000. Two Sigma Securities LLC bought a new position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services in the fourth quarter valued at about $115,000. Unison Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services in the fourth quarter valued at about $119,000. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI bought a new position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services in the third quarter valued at about $135,000. Finally, MANA Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in AmTrust Financial Services in the fourth quarter worth about $142,000. 33.59% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About AmTrust Financial Services
Amtrust Financial Services, Inc (AmTrust) is an insurance holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides specialty property and casualty insurance focusing on workers’ compensation and commercial package coverage for small business, specialty risk and extended warranty coverage, and property and casualty coverage for middle market business.
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