Prudential Financial (PRU) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Prudential have outperformed the industry in a year's time. Also, the company saw its 2017 and 2018 estimates move north in the last 60 days. Prudential is set to grow on its high performing asset management business, international operations and deeper reach in the pension risk transfer market. It strives to build leadership position in the pension risk transfer market. Expanded international presence provides it with better organic growth opportunities than peers. Focus on Protection, Retirement and Investment Management businesses will continue to help Prudential maintain leadership position. Also, a strong balance sheet and efficient capital management are tailwinds. For 2018, earnings per share are estimated in $11.20 – $11.70 range. It expects ROE between 12% and 13% in the near to intermediate term. However, exposure to still low interest rates, unfavorable currency impact and regulatory control remain headwinds.”

A number of other brokerages have also weighed in on PRU. Citigroup raised shares of Prudential Financial from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $103.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, October 17th. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Prudential Financial from $118.00 to $123.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research note on Thursday, October 5th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $119.00 price target on shares of Prudential Financial in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $127.00 price target on shares of Prudential Financial in a research note on Thursday, December 21st. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Prudential Financial from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Sunday, December 31st. Nine equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $117.45.

Prudential Financial (PRU) opened at $117.68 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $50,650.00, a PE ratio of 11.86, a P/E/G ratio of 1.25 and a beta of 1.55. Prudential Financial has a 12 month low of $97.88 and a 12 month high of $118.17. The company has a quick ratio of 0.13, a current ratio of 0.13 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34.

Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $3.01 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.71 by $0.30. The firm had revenue of $13.36 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $12.24 billion. Prudential Financial had a net margin of 7.71% and a return on equity of 9.51%. During the same period last year, the company posted $2.66 EPS. equities analysts anticipate that Prudential Financial will post 10.46 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 14th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 27th were issued a $0.75 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, November 24th. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.55%. Prudential Financial’s payout ratio is 30.24%.

Prudential Financial announced that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Thursday, December 14th that allows the company to repurchase $1.50 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the financial services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Prudential Financial news, SVP Barbara Koster sold 16,801 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $115.17, for a total value of $1,934,971.17. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 37,327 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,298,950.59. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Nicholas C. Silitch sold 44,860 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $111.77, for a total transaction of $5,014,002.20. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 27,927 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,121,400.79. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 116,818 shares of company stock valued at $13,154,122. 0.66% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Washington Trust Bank increased its holdings in shares of Prudential Financial by 5.2% during the 4th quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 65,392 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $7,519,000 after buying an additional 3,206 shares during the last quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC increased its holdings in shares of Prudential Financial by 0.6% during the 3rd quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 1,248,069 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $132,694,000 after buying an additional 7,299 shares during the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC increased its holdings in shares of Prudential Financial by 3.1% during the 3rd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 1,315,741 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $139,890,000 after buying an additional 39,039 shares during the last quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Prudential Financial during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $1,340,000. Finally, GSA Capital Partners LLP increased its holdings in shares of Prudential Financial by 420.6% during the 3rd quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP now owns 11,671 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,241,000 after buying an additional 9,429 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.46% of the company’s stock.

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Prudential Financial Company Profile

Prudential Financial, Inc, is a financial services company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, offers a range of financial products and services, which includes life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. The Company’s operations consists of four divisions, which together encompass seven segments.

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