Zacks Investment Research Downgrades AmTrust Financial Services (AFSI) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of AmTrust Financial Services (NASDAQ:AFSI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “AmTrust Financial’s leadership position in commercial small business, expansion of other segments and an impressive inorganic growth story poise it well for growth. The company also aims to build an investment portfolio that returns in line with the sector. The slow but improving rate environment also raises optimism. Plus, a strong balance sheet facilitates growth initiatives and effective capital deployment. The company also witnessed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 moved 5.2% north over the last 60 days. However, a high level of debt increases interest burden and escalates expenses, thereby hurting margin. Exposure to cat environment induced volatility in underwriting results. Shares of AmTrust Financial have underperformed the industry in a year's time.”

A number of other analysts have also commented on AFSI. FBR & Co lowered AmTrust Financial Services from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $14.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. B. Riley restated a neutral rating and set a $12.00 target price on shares of AmTrust Financial Services in a research report on Monday, November 6th. SunTrust Banks restated a buy rating and set a $16.00 target price on shares of AmTrust Financial Services in a research report on Friday, November 10th. JMP Securities lowered AmTrust Financial Services from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Monday, November 13th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a hold rating and set a $10.00 target price on shares of AmTrust Financial Services in a research report on Wednesday, December 6th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $15.14.

Shares of AmTrust Financial Services (NASDAQ:AFSI) opened at $13.22 on Monday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.53, a current ratio of 0.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46. The company has a market capitalization of $2,590.00, a PE ratio of -41.31 and a beta of 1.28. AmTrust Financial Services has a 12-month low of $8.80 and a 12-month high of $27.91.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 2nd will be given a dividend of $0.17 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 29th. This represents a $0.68 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.14%. AmTrust Financial Services’s payout ratio is currently -212.50%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Paloma Partners Management Co acquired a new position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $402,000. Two Sigma Securities LLC acquired a new position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $115,000. Empire Life Investments Inc. grew its position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services by 31.2% in the 4th quarter. Empire Life Investments Inc. now owns 33,468 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $337,000 after purchasing an additional 7,962 shares during the period. Two Sigma Investments LP grew its position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services by 46.3% in the 4th quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 626,173 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $6,306,000 after purchasing an additional 198,024 shares during the period. Finally, Two Sigma Advisers LP grew its position in shares of AmTrust Financial Services by 32.9% in the 4th quarter. Two Sigma Advisers LP now owns 105,313 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,061,000 after purchasing an additional 26,086 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 33.59% of the company’s stock.

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About AmTrust Financial Services

Amtrust Financial Services, Inc (AmTrust) is an insurance holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides specialty property and casualty insurance focusing on workers’ compensation and commercial package coverage for small business, specialty risk and extended warranty coverage, and property and casualty coverage for middle market business.

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