Insurance Data Spooks Analyst Amid Industry Jitters, Arthur J. Gallagher Loses Favor

Zinger Key Points
  • Truist Securities downgrades Arthur J. Gallagher to Hold, lowers price target to $255 from $280.
  • Analyst cites industry data points indicating potential for sharper downshift in P&C cycle, affecting organic growth.

Truist Securities analyst Mark Hughes downgraded Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG to Hold from Buy and lowered the price target to $255 from $280.

The re-rating is based on the recent industry data points (namely the E&S state results and MarketScout survey), expected to increase the potential for a sharper downshift in the P&C cycle, which would have a knock-on effect on organic growth of the company.

In particular, E&S premium growth decelerated sharply in the first quarter to up 7% (from +20% in the fourth quarter), with a negative result in March (-9%), writes the analyst.

Hughes says that the slowing commercial property growth, including in Florida and Texas, appears to have led certain carriers to push for more casualty premiums at the first quarter-end.

Also, the analyst says that Federal Reserve interest rate cuts, expected to commence later this year, could be a further catalyst away from P&C insurance.

Consequently, Hughes reduced the organic growth assumption by 100 bps for this year and next, slightly pulling back the margin forecast.

The analysis lowered the EPS estimates to $9.90 (from $10.03) vs. consensus of $10.14 and $10.85 (from $11.05) vs. street view of $11.35. 

Investors can gain exposure to the stock via Exchange Listed Funds Trust Bancreek U.S. Large Cap ETF BCUS and Harbor ETF Trust Harbor Dividend Growth Leaders ETF GDIV.

Price Action: AJG shares are down 1.6% at $240.22 on the last check Wednesday.

Photo via Shutterstock

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