The Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Validus Holdings Ltd. (VR) to Buy

The Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Validus Holdings Ltd. (VR) to Buy

Validus Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:VR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Saturday. The brokerage currently has a $58.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective points to a potential upside of 12.32% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Validus Holdings, Ltd., through its principal operating subsidiary Validus Reinsurance, Ltd., is a global provider of short-tail lines of reinsurance including property catastrophe, property pro-rata and property per risk, marine and energy, and other specialty lines. Validus was formed in December following the significant natural catastrophes of 2005 with an experienced management team and an unencumbered capital base of approximately $one billion. “

Separately, JPMorgan Chase & Co. started coverage on Validus Holdings in a report on Tuesday, June 28th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $55.00 price objective on the stock.

Validus Holdings (NYSE:VR) opened at 51.64 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.15 billion, a PE ratio of 11.00 and a beta of 0.59. Validus Holdings has a 52-week low of $41.73 and a 52-week high of $52.39. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $50.40 and its 200 day moving average price is $48.44.

Validus Holdings (NYSE:VR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.66 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.75 by $0.09. Validus Holdings had a net margin of 16.72% and a return on equity of 8.93%. The firm had revenue of $574.47 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $576.08 million. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.16 EPS. On average, analysts predict that Validus Holdings will post $4.04 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a dividend of $0.35 per share. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.71%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. Validus Holdings’s dividend payout ratio is currently 29.72%.

In related news, Director Michael E.A. Carpenter sold 9,300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.60, for a total transaction of $461,280.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 281,733 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,973,956.80. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Jeffrey W. Greenberg sold 54,872 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.47, for a total value of $2,714,517.84. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 3,027 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $149,745.69. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 4.19% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. First Mercantile Trust Co. acquired a new position in Validus Holdings during the third quarter valued at $270,000. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its position in Validus Holdings by 20.1% in the third quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 10,778 shares of the company’s stock valued at $537,000 after buying an additional 1,802 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its position in Validus Holdings by 2.5% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,206,379 shares of the company’s stock valued at $58,618,000 after buying an additional 29,760 shares during the period. Royal Bank of Canada raised its position in Validus Holdings by 15.3% in the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 466,039 shares of the company’s stock valued at $22,645,000 after buying an additional 61,723 shares during the period. Finally, IFP Advisors Inc raised its position in Validus Holdings by 24.5% in the second quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 4,842 shares of the company’s stock valued at $235,000 after buying an additional 953 shares during the period. 93.59% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Validus Holdings

Validus Holdings, Ltd. is a holding company. The Company conducts its operations through four operating segments: Validus Re, Talbot, Western World and AlphaCat. Validus Re is a Bermuda-based reinsurance segment focused treaty reinsurance. AlphaCat is an investment advisor managing capital from third parties and the Company in insurance linked securities and other investments in the property catastrophe reinsurance space.

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