Short-term stake in AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS) drops 35.3%

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE: AXS – Get a rating) was the target of a sharp decline in short-term interest in July. As of July 15, there was short interest totaling 672,900 shares, down 35.3% from the June 30 total of 1,040,000 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 543,700 shares, the day-to-cover ratio is currently 1.2 days. Currently, 0.9% of the company’s shares are sold short.

Institutional entries and exits

Several large investors have recently changed their positions in AXS. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in AXIS Capital by 3.8% during the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,948,453 shares of the insurance provider worth $480,644,000 after acquiring an additional 288,068 shares during the period. Pzena Investment Management LLC increased its position in AXIS Capital by 0.8% during the 1st quarter. Pzena Investment Management LLC now owns 7,111,763 shares of the insurance provider worth $430,048,000 after acquiring an additional 54,239 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in AXIS Capital by 0.7% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,292,446 shares of the insurance provider worth $199,093,000 after acquiring an additional 24,397 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its position in AXIS Capital by 13.8% during the 1st quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 3,146,707 shares of the insurance provider worth $190,280,000 after acquiring an additional 381,511 shares during the period. Finally, Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC strengthened its position in AXIS Capital by 1.5% in the 4th quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 2,866,970 shares of the insurance provider worth $156,164,000 after acquiring an additional 43,469 shares during the period. 93.67% of the shares are held by institutional investors.

Changes to analyst ratings

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Several research companies have recently published reports on AXS. StockNews.com upgraded AXIS Capital from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday. Jefferies Financial Group cut its price target on AXIS Capital shares from $70.00 to $66.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a Tuesday, July 12 research note. Finally, TheStreet downgraded AXIS Capital shares from a “b” to a “c+” rating in a Tuesday, July 26 research note. Three analysts gave the stock a hold rating and two gave the company a buy rating. According to MarketBeat.com, AXIS Capital currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $61.00.

AXIS Capital Trading up 1.0%

NYSE: AXS was up $0.51 in Friday’s midday session, hitting $50.49. 725,058 shares of the company were traded, against an average volume of 551,822. The company’s fifty-day moving average is $55.55 and its 200-day moving average is $56.08. AXIS Capital has a 12-month low of $44.49 and a 12-month high of $61.39. The company has a market capitalization of $4.31 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.43, a P/E/G ratio of 1.78 and a beta of 0.85. The company has a current ratio of 0.59, a quick ratio of 0.59 and a debt ratio of 0.31.

AXIS Capital (NYSE:AXS- Get a rating) last reported quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26. The insurance provider reported EPS of $1.74 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.53 by $0.21. AXIS Capital achieved a return on equity of 11.44% and a net margin of 8.55%. During the same period of the previous year, the company posted an EPS of $2.00. On average, sell-side analysts predict that AXIS Capital will post 6.06 EPS for the current year.

AXIS Capital announces a dividend

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 15. Shareholders of record on Thursday, June 30 received a dividend of $0.43. This represents an annualized dividend of $1.72 and a dividend yield of 3.41%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, June 29. AXIS Capital’s payout ratio is 35.54%.

About AXIS Capital

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AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, offers a variety of specialist insurance and reinsurance products worldwide. It operates through two segments, insurance and reinsurance. The Insurance segment offers property insurance products for commercial buildings, residential premises, construction projects and land energy facilities; marine insurance products covering offshore energy, freight, liability, recreational marine, fine art, cash and hull warfare; and terrorism, aviation, credit and political risk and liability insurance products.

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