Prudential Financial (PRU) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Monday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $132.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Prudential have outperformed the industry in a year's time. Also, the company saw its 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 analysts also recently commented on the company. Citigroup upgraded Prudential Financial from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $103.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a buy rating on shares of Prudential Financial in a research report on Friday, November 10th. Royal Bank of Canada restated a hold rating and set a $119.00 target price on shares of Prudential Financial in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. Morgan Stanley raised their target price on Prudential Financial from $118.00 to $123.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research report on Thursday, October 5th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co set a $122.00 target price on Prudential Financial and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, December 14th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, ten have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $119.35.

Shares of Prudential Financial (NYSE PRU) traded up $0.41 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $124.12. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,370,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,770,000. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34, a current ratio of 0.13 and a quick ratio of 0.13. Prudential Financial has a 52 week low of $97.88 and a 52 week high of $125.00. The company has a market cap of $53,420.00, a P/E ratio of 12.51, a P/E/G ratio of 1.27 and a beta of 1.55.

Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $3.01 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.71 by $0.30. Prudential Financial had a return on equity of 9.51% and a net margin of 7.71%. The company had revenue of $13.36 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $12.24 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $2.66 EPS. equities analysts expect that Prudential Financial will post 10.48 EPS for the current year.

Prudential Financial declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, December 14th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.50 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 14th. Investors of record on Monday, November 27th were given a dividend of $0.75 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, November 24th. This represents a $3.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.42%. Prudential Financial’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 30.24%.

In related news, SVP Barbara Koster sold 16,801 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $115.17, for a total transaction of $1,934,971.17. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 37,327 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,298,950.59. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Timothy P. Harris sold 10,527 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $115.00, for a total value of $1,210,605.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 116,818 shares of company stock valued at $13,154,122 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.66% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in PRU. APG Asset Management N.V. increased its holdings in Prudential Financial by 171.8% during the 3rd quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 2,704,719 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $287,566,000 after purchasing an additional 1,709,699 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its holdings in Prudential Financial by 1,997.1% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,204,160 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $130,218,000 after purchasing an additional 1,146,739 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Prudential Financial by 2.9% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 33,155,309 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,585,415,000 after purchasing an additional 934,352 shares in the last quarter. AJO LP increased its holdings in Prudential Financial by 42.8% during the 2nd quarter. AJO LP now owns 2,743,406 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $296,672,000 after purchasing an additional 821,881 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership increased its holdings in Prudential Financial by 48.8% during the 2nd quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 2,247,204 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $243,013,000 after purchasing an additional 737,458 shares in the last quarter. 64.46% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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