Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Arthur J. Gallagher’s third-quarter 2017 earnings outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also improved year over year on robust organic growth and solid segmental performance. Shares of Arthur J. Gallagher have outperformed the industry, since the release of its third-quarter results. Arthur J. Gallagher’s inorganic story seems impressive with strategic buyouts, with the company intending to pursue smaller tuck-in mergers in 2017. It remains focused on tapping opportunities in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. The company remains focused on enhancing productivity and quality that is a part of its value creation strategy. A solid performance is leading to sufficient cash flows help it deploy capital in shareholder-friendly moves. Escalating expenses and weak commercial P&C rates pose concerns. Adverse foreign exchange also will weigh on results.”

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. from $68.00 to $69.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Monday, October 16th. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a hold rating and set a $59.00 price objective on shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. Deutsche Bank AG lowered shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $64.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, October 4th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company reiterated a buy rating and set a $66.00 price objective on shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in a report on Sunday, September 17th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $64.38.

Shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE AJG) traded up 0.51% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $63.65. 160,800 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $61.66 and a 200-day moving average price of $58.50. The stock has a market capitalization of $11.47 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.67 and a beta of 1.21. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.16 and a 52 week high of $64.05.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The financial services provider reported $0.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.79 by $0.02. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. had a net margin of 7.62% and a return on equity of 13.56%. The company had revenue of $1.58 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.60 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.77 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. will post $2.99 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 1st will be paid a dividend of $0.39 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.46%. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 62.40%.

In other news, insider Susan E. Pietrucha sold 3,601 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.78, for a total transaction of $208,065.78. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 4,055 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $234,297.90. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Joel D. Cavaness sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.73, for a total transaction of $587,300.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 96,186 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,649,003.78. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 23,568 shares of company stock valued at $1,393,186 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 1.60% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AJG. Citadel Advisors LLC grew its position in shares of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 785.9% during the second quarter. Citadel Advisors LLC now owns 2,362,782 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $135,269,000 after buying an additional 2,096,062 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 8,471.3% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,852,944 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $106,081,000 after purchasing an additional 1,831,326 shares during the period. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its holdings in Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 4,730.8% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 1,550,935 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $88,791,000 after purchasing an additional 1,518,830 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 97.9% in the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,242,484 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $71,132,000 after purchasing an additional 614,788 shares during the period. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. by 3.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 18,149,660 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,039,067,000 after purchasing an additional 571,235 shares during the period. 81.38% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Company Profile

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co and its subsidiaries are engaged in providing insurance brokerage and consulting services, and third-party claims settlement and administration services to both domestic and international entities. The Company operates through three segments: brokerage, risk management and corporate.

Analyst Recommendations for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE:AJG)

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