Prudential Financial (PRU) Raised to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Prudential’s fourth-quarter EPS missed estimates on weak segmental performances. However, operating earnings and adjusted book value per share increased, leading to a double-digit return on equity. The company returned more than $3 billion in 2018. Prudential continues to gain from growth in asset-based businesses, improved margins in Group Insurance business and solid international operations. High performing asset management business, deeper reach in the pension risk transfer market, strong balance sheet and an efficient capital management are catalysts. It expects 2019 EPS between $12.50 and $13.00 and ROE between 12% and 13% in the near-to-intermediate term. However, exposure to still low interest rates as well as to products like annuities and universal life guarantying low returns remains a woe. Escalating expenses continue to weigh on margin expansion. Shares of Prudential have underperformed the industry in a year’s time.”

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on PRU. Morgan Stanley reduced their price objective on shares of Prudential Financial from $122.00 to $120.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, November 8th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Prudential Financial from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research report on Friday, November 16th. Evercore ISI raised shares of Prudential Financial from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and set a $85.50 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, January 9th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $113.00 price objective on shares of Prudential Financial in a research report on Wednesday, January 9th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co began coverage on shares of Prudential Financial in a research report on Tuesday, January 8th. They issued an outperform rating and a $105.00 price objective for the company. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $114.19.

Shares of PRU stock opened at $94.15 on Tuesday. Prudential Financial has a 52-week low of $75.61 and a 52-week high of $111.18. The company has a quick ratio of 0.11, a current ratio of 0.11 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35. The stock has a market capitalization of $37.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.05, a PEG ratio of 0.81 and a beta of 1.41.

Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 6th. The financial services provider reported $2.44 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.88 by ($0.44). Prudential Financial had a return on equity of 10.20% and a net margin of 7.01%. The firm had revenue of $17.78 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $14.03 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $2.69 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Prudential Financial will post 12.8 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 14th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, February 20th will be paid a $1.00 dividend. This represents a $4.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.25%. This is a boost from Prudential Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.90. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, February 19th. Prudential Financial’s payout ratio is presently 30.80%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in PRU. Old North State Trust LLC boosted its stake in Prudential Financial by 46.5% in the fourth quarter. Old North State Trust LLC now owns 438 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $35,000 after acquiring an additional 139 shares during the last quarter. Semmax Financial Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in Prudential Financial in the fourth quarter valued at about $35,000. Baldwin Brothers Inc. MA boosted its stake in Prudential Financial by 146.7% in the fourth quarter. Baldwin Brothers Inc. MA now owns 454 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $37,000 after acquiring an additional 270 shares during the last quarter. PRW Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in Prudential Financial in the fourth quarter valued at about $39,000. Finally, Enlightenment Research LLC purchased a new position in Prudential Financial in the fourth quarter valued at about $41,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 66.23% of the company’s stock.

Prudential Financial Company Profile

Prudential Financial, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides insurance, investment management, and other financial products and services in the United States and internationally. It operates through U.S. Individual Solutions, U.S. Workplace Solutions, Investment Management, and International Insurance divisions.

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