Today, The Zacks Investment Research Upgraded Principal Financial Group Inc. (PFG) to “Buy”

Today, The Zacks Investment Research Upgraded Principal Financial Group Inc. (PFG) to “Buy”
Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:PFG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday. They currently have $65.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Principal Financial’s focus on fee-based revenue sources has been helping it to earn steadily, and limits exposure to the interest rate environment. Annuity and insurance business also offer sustained earnings growth. The company’s inorganic story remains impressive with buyouts strengthening its international footprint. It also remains focused on effective capital deployment to enhance shareholder value. However, the company’s investment results will likely be hurt by a soft interest rate environment, restricting any major improvement. Escalating expenses pose concerns. With respect to quarterly results, the company’s third-quarter 2016 earnings outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also improved year over year. Strong investment performance, expansion of the company’s solution set as well as strengthening relationships with customers and distributors led to outperformance.”

PFG has been the subject of a number of other reports. Barclays PLC upped their price objective on Principal Financial Group from $41.00 to $47.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. RBC Capital Markets reiterated a buy rating and issued a $61.00 price objective (up from $52.00) on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Thursday, November 17th. Royal Bank Of Canada upped their price objective on Principal Financial Group from $52.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, November 17th. Wells Fargo & Co. reiterated an outperform rating on shares of Principal Financial Group in a report on Friday, September 23rd. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upped their price objective on Principal Financial Group from $40.00 to $45.00 and gave the stock a sell rating in a report on Friday, September 23rd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $51.43.

Shares of Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) opened at 58.41 on Monday. Principal Financial Group has a one year low of $33.09 and a one year high of $58.85. The company has a market capitalization of $16.80 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.69 and a beta of 1.68. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $54.47 and a 200-day moving average price of $47.68.

Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $1.15 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.12 by $0.03. Principal Financial Group had a return on equity of 12.34% and a net margin of 10.63%. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.06 earnings per share. Equities analysts forecast that Principal Financial Group will post $4.43 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 27th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 5th will be given a $0.43 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 1st. This represents a $1.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.94%. This is a positive change from Principal Financial Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.41. Principal Financial Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 38.41%.

In other news, EVP Timothy Mark Dunbar sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total value of $260,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Gary P. Scholten sold 13,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $754,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.78% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. AXA purchased a new position in shares of Principal Financial Group during the first quarter valued at about $454,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC bought a new position in Principal Financial Group during the first quarter worth $19,291,000. Legal & General Group Plc raised its position in Principal Financial Group by 2.3% in the first quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 1,277,608 shares of the company’s stock worth $50,404,000 after buying an additional 29,201 shares during the period. Babson Capital Management LLC raised its position in Principal Financial Group by 124.6% in the first quarter. Babson Capital Management LLC now owns 17,664 shares of the company’s stock worth $697,000 after buying an additional 9,800 shares during the period. Finally, Arizona State Retirement System raised its position in Principal Financial Group by 0.4% in the first quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 103,816 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,096,000 after buying an additional 400 shares during the period. 67.45% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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 services. The Company’s segments include Retirement and Income Solutions; Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S.

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