Principal Financial Group (PFG) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday, January 12th. They currently have $83.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Focus on fee-based revenue sources has been helping Principal Financial to earn steadily and limits exposure to the interest rate environment. The company targets a return on equity improvement of 30-60 basis points annually. Its inorganic story remains impressive with buyouts strengthening international footprint. The company’s assets under management have also been steadily increasing. It also remains focused on effective capital deployment to enhance the shareholder value, targeting $0.9-$1.3 billion in 2018. Estimates also moved up for 2018. However, higher leverage inducing increase in interest weigh on margin expansion remains a headwind. Shares of Principal Financial have underperformed the industry in a year. The company is set to report fourth-quarter results on Jan 29. A Zacks Rank of 2, which increases the predictive power of ESP, combined with an Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.”

PFG has been the topic of a number of other reports. Wells Fargo & Co cut shares of Principal Financial Group from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a hold rating and set a $73.00 target price on shares of Principal Financial Group in a research report on Monday, December 11th. Goldman Sachs Group assumed coverage on shares of Principal Financial Group in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. They issued a neutral rating and a $70.00 price target for the company. Finally, Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on shares of Principal Financial Group from $67.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research note on Thursday, October 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. Principal Financial Group presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $68.90.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) traded up $0.57 during trading on Friday, reaching $74.05. 1,243,640 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,020,000. The stock has a market capitalization of $21,550.00, a P/E ratio of 12.14, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.35 and a beta of 1.72. The company has a current ratio of 0.10, a quick ratio of 0.10 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26. Principal Financial Group has a 52-week low of $56.12 and a 52-week high of $74.80.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The financial services provider reported $1.28 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.30 by ($0.02). Principal Financial Group had a net margin of 12.35% and a return on equity of 13.55%. The business had revenue of $3.95 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.12 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.15 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Principal Financial Group will post 5.22 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 28th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 4th were paid a dividend of $0.49 per share. This is a positive change from Principal Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 1st. This represents a $1.96 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.65%. Principal Financial Group’s payout ratio is presently 32.13%.

In related news, CFO Deanna D. Strable-Soethout sold 18,905 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.07, for a total value of $1,324,673.35. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Daniel Joseph Houston sold 19,856 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.02, for a total transaction of $1,430,029.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 301,958 shares of company stock valued at $21,343,156. 1.50% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. BerganKDV Wealth Management LLC acquired a new stake in Principal Financial Group in the third quarter worth about $384,000. AMP Capital Investors Ltd lifted its holdings in Principal Financial Group by 4.2% in the 3rd quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd now owns 183,893 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $11,831,000 after acquiring an additional 7,492 shares during the last quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. lifted its holdings in Principal Financial Group by 18.6% in the 3rd quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 588,719 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $37,877,000 after acquiring an additional 92,391 shares during the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its holdings in Principal Financial Group by 6,656.1% in the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 3,020,597 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $193,529,000 after acquiring an additional 2,975,888 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. lifted its holdings in Principal Financial Group by 9.2% in the 3rd quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 961,374 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $61,855,000 after acquiring an additional 81,084 shares during the last quarter. 68.64% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Principal Financial Group

Principal Financial Group, Inc is an investment management company. The Company offers a range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance. Its segments include Retirement and Income Solutions; Principal Global Investors, Principal International; U.S. Insurance Solutions, and Corporate.

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