Axis Capital Holdings Limited (AXS) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of AXIS Capital have outperformed the Zacks categorized Property and Casualty (P&C) industry, in the last one year. Estimates has also been moving north over the last 60 days. It continues to build on its Specialty Insurance, Reinsurance, and Accident and Health to pave way for long-term growth. It remains focused on deploying resources prudently, enhancing efficiencies and better serving clients and brokers across the globe. It has also been improving its portfolio mix and underwriting profitability apart from strengthening the casualty and professional lines in the insurance segment. However, stiff competition in the reinsurance industry slowing growth and lowering profitability along with escalating expenses eating into margins remain concerns.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently commented on AXS. Citigroup Inc initiated coverage on shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited in a report on Tuesday, November 22nd. They set a “sell” rating and a $55.00 price target on the stock. Macquarie cut shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, December 2nd. Wells Fargo & Co cut shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Monday, January 9th. MKM Partners upgraded shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $80.00 price objective for the company in a report on Thursday, February 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “market perform” rating and issued a $67.00 price objective (up from $64.00) on shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited in a report on Friday, February 3rd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Axis Capital Holdings Limited presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $65.71.

Analyst Recommendations for Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS)

Shares of Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) opened at 67.47 on Friday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $67.98 and a 200 day moving average price of $62.00. Axis Capital Holdings Limited has a one year low of $51.01 and a one year high of $71.06. The company has a market capitalization of $5.81 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.28 and a beta of 0.55.

Axis Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 1st. The company reported $1.14 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.27. Axis Capital Holdings Limited had a net margin of 12.82% and a return on equity of 8.36%. The business had revenue of $464.39 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $602.70 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.23 EPS. Axis Capital Holdings Limited’s revenue was down 22.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Axis Capital Holdings Limited will post $4.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 17th. Investors of record on Friday, March 31st will be issued a $0.38 dividend. This represents a $1.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.25%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 29th. Axis Capital Holdings Limited’s dividend payout ratio is presently 29.57%.

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In related news, Director Michael A. Butt sold 158,946 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.38, for a total value of $10,391,889.48. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 999,982 shares in the company, valued at $65,378,823.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 2.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited by 10.1% in the third quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 16,122 shares of the company’s stock worth $876,000 after buying an additional 1,474 shares during the period. Fox Run Management L.L.C. purchased a new stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited during the third quarter worth about $342,000. Capstone Asset Management Co. boosted its stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited by 6.1% in the third quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 4,888 shares of the company’s stock worth $266,000 after buying an additional 280 shares during the period. First Quadrant L P CA purchased a new stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited during the third quarter worth about $203,000. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue boosted its stake in Axis Capital Holdings Limited by 2.6% in the third quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 9,945 shares of the company’s stock worth $540,000 after buying an additional 251 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 90.07% of the company’s stock.

About Axis Capital Holdings Limited

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited is a holding company for the AXIS group of companies. The Company provides a range of specialty (re)insurance, through subsidiaries and branch networks- based in Bermuda, the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Singapore. It operates in two segments: AXIS Insurance and AXIS Re.

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