Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Prudential Financial have significantly outperformed the Zacks categorized Multi Line insurance industry, year-to-date. Prudential remains well poised for growth on the back of its high performing asset management business, widespread international operations and deeper reach in the pension risk transfer market. It has been growing its pension risk transfer business and has more than $75 billion in pension account values. It strives to build its leadership position in the pension risk transfer market which has great potential and is an excellent fit for its group annuity management skills. Expanded international presence, mainly in Japan, Korea and China, provides it with better organic growth opportunities than peers. Also, a strong balance sheet and efficient capital management are tailwinds. However, exposure to low interest rates, unfavorable currency impact and regulatory control remain headwinds.”

A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on PRU. Morgan Stanley downgraded shares of Prudential Financial from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $109.00 to $110.00 in a research note on Wednesday, December 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Bank of America Corporation raised shares of Prudential Financial from an underperform rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 7th. FBR & Co dropped their target price on shares of Prudential Financial from $100.00 to $86.00 and set a mkt perform rating for the company in a research note on Monday, November 28th. Credit Suisse Group assumed coverage on shares of Prudential Financial in a research note on Friday, October 7th. They issued a neutral rating and a $89.00 target price for the company. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company assumed coverage on shares of Prudential Financial in a research note on Friday, September 23rd. They issued a market perform rating for the company. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, ten have issued a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the stock. Prudential Financial currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $94.63.

Analyst Recommendations for Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU)

Shares of Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) opened at 104.86 on Thursday. The stock has a market cap of $45.09 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.89 and a beta of 1.73. The company has a 50 day moving average of $103.25 and a 200 day moving average of $84.92. Prudential Financial has a 12 month low of $57.19 and a 12 month high of $108.29.

Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 2nd. The company reported $2.66 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.49 by $0.17. Prudential Financial had a net margin of 8.45% and a return on equity of 7.73%. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $2.40 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Prudential Financial will post $9.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, November 22nd were issued a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.67%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, November 18th. Prudential Financial’s dividend payout ratio is currently 26.29%.

In related news, insider Scott Sleyster sold 9,379 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.06, for a total transaction of $797,777.74. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 34,185 shares in the company, valued at $2,907,776.10. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, SVP Sharon C. Taylor sold 85,490 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.99, for a total transaction of $7,265,795.10. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 77,221 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,563,012.79. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.20% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Cohen & Steers Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Prudential Financial during the second quarter worth about $718,824,000. Capital Research Global Investors purchased a new position in shares of Prudential Financial during the third quarter worth about $425,473,000. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company purchased a new position in shares of Prudential Financial during the third quarter worth about $101,648,000. APG Asset Management N.V. boosted its position in shares of Prudential Financial by 51.2% in the third quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 2,071,032 shares of the company’s stock worth $169,100,000 after buying an additional 701,526 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new position in shares of Prudential Financial during the second quarter worth about $39,301,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 60.23% of the company’s stock.

About Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial, Inc is a financial services company. The Company, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides a range of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities and investment management. The Company’s divisions include U.S. Retirement Solutions and Investment Management Division; U.S.

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