Zacks Investment Research Lowers Markel (MKL) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Markel (NYSE:MKL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Markel have outperformed the industry year to date. The company witnessed its estimates for 2018 and 2019 move north in the last 30 days. Markel strives to grow via acquisitions and organic initiatives as these not only diversify and strengthen its portfolio but also expand the international footprint. Markel continues to deliver solid results, banking on the strength of its underwriting, investment and Markel Ventures operations. Markel stands to benefit from insurance, investments and Markel Ventures, which position it well for long-term growth.  Markel is also judiciously raising rates across all its products. However, exposure to cat loss will always induce volatility in underwriting results. Escalating expenses weighing on margin expansion also remain a concern.”

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Several other equities analysts have also issued reports on MKL. Argus began coverage on shares of Markel in a report on Wednesday, April 11th. They issued a hold rating on the stock. ValuEngine raised shares of Markel from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, April 2nd. SunTrust Banks lifted their price target on shares of Markel to $1,200.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Thursday, February 8th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $1,200.00 price target on shares of Markel in a report on Thursday, February 8th. Finally, William Blair raised shares of Markel from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report on Monday, March 19th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Markel presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $1,184.25.

Shares of MKL stock opened at $1,150.53 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $16,034.83, a P/E ratio of 317.83 and a beta of 0.89. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a quick ratio of 0.60 and a current ratio of 0.60. Markel has a 52-week low of $936.95 and a 52-week high of $1,194.98.

Markel (NYSE:MKL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 6th. The insurance provider reported $6.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $8.55 by ($1.91). Markel had a return on equity of 0.39% and a net margin of 6.52%. The firm had revenue of $1.67 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.58 billion. sell-side analysts anticipate that Markel will post 36.49 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CEO Richard R. Whitt III sold 300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,060.02, for a total transaction of $318,006.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 9,652 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,231,313.04. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Alan I. Kirshner sold 100 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,149.02, for a total transaction of $114,902.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 2,000 shares of company stock worth $2,245,156 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 2.46% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Ackerman Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Markel during the fourth quarter valued at $326,000. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB grew its holdings in shares of Markel by 18.3% during the fourth quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB now owns 1,323 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,507,000 after buying an additional 205 shares during the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Markel by 5.3% during the fourth quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,151 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $5,868,000 after buying an additional 257 shares during the last quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp grew its holdings in shares of Markel by 25.7% during the fourth quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp now owns 5,029 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $5,729,000 after buying an additional 1,027 shares during the last quarter. Finally, MainStreet Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Markel during the fourth quarter valued at $944,000. 78.04% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Markel Company Profile

Markel Corporation, a diverse financial holding company, markets and underwrites specialty insurance products in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and internationally. It operates through three segments: U.S. Insurance, International Insurance, and Reinsurance. The U.S. Insurance segment offers general and professional liability, property, personal line, program, and workers' compensation insurance products, as well as other insurance product lines, such as ocean marine, surety, CPI, and coverages.

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