Short Interest in Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) Rises By 7.3%

Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNTGet Free Report) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest during the month of March. As of March 15th, there was short interest totalling 764,000 shares, a growth of 7.3% from the February 29th total of 712,200 shares. Approximately 0.7% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 524,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 1.5 days.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

A number of analysts have weighed in on the stock. StockNews.com cut shares of Essent Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, March 4th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered shares of Essent Group from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their price objective for the stock from $58.00 to $61.00 in a research note on Wednesday. UBS Group started coverage on Essent Group in a research note on Wednesday, December 6th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $54.00 target price for the company. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada raised their price target on Essent Group from $56.00 to $58.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, February 12th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. According to MarketBeat.com, the company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $56.63.

Check Out Our Latest Research Report on ESNT

Insider Activity at Essent Group

In other news, SVP Mary Lourdes Gibbons sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.00, for a total value of $275,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 247,969 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,638,295. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 3.10% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Institutional Trading of Essent Group

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Essent Group in the 4th quarter worth $26,000. Quarry LP raised its position in Essent Group by 141.7% in the fourth quarter. Quarry LP now owns 556 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $29,000 after acquiring an additional 326 shares in the last quarter. GAMMA Investing LLC acquired a new stake in Essent Group in the 4th quarter valued at about $37,000. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust boosted its position in shares of Essent Group by 25.5% during the 2nd quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust now owns 1,155 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $54,000 after purchasing an additional 235 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Virtus Fund Advisers LLC acquired a new position in shares of Essent Group in the 4th quarter worth approximately $58,000. 93.00% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Essent Group Price Performance

Shares of NYSE ESNT traded down $0.17 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $58.37. 250,410 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 535,955. Essent Group has a twelve month low of $38.84 and a twelve month high of $59.90. The firm has a market cap of $6.24 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.00, a PEG ratio of 0.90 and a beta of 1.04. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $54.73 and its 200-day moving average price is $51.46.

Essent Group (NYSE:ESNTGet Free Report) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 9th. The financial services provider reported $1.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.59 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $297.30 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $286.18 million. Essent Group had a return on equity of 14.44% and a net margin of 62.75%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 29.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.37 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Essent Group will post 6.57 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Essent Group Increases Dividend

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 22nd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, March 13th were paid a dividend of $0.28 per share. This is a boost from Essent Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.25. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, March 12th. This represents a $1.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.92%. Essent Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 17.23%.

Essent Group Company Profile

(Get Free Report)

Essent Group Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides private mortgage insurance and reinsurance for mortgages secured by residential properties located in the United States. Its mortgage insurance products include primary, pool, and master policy. The company also provides information technology maintenance and development services; customer support-related services; underwriting consulting; and contract underwriting services, as well as risk management products and title insurance and settlement services.

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