Markel (MKL) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Markel (NYSE:MKL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Friday morning. They currently have $1,238.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Markel have outperformed the industry in a year. It also witnessed 2018 estimates move north in the last 60 days.  It strives to grow via acquisitions and organic initiatives as these not only diversify and strengthen its portfolio but also expand its international footprint. Despite soft market conditions, it 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.  However, exposure to catastrophe loss will always induce volatility in underwriting results. Escalating expenses weighing on margin expansion remain a concern.”

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a buy rating on shares of Markel in a report on Thursday, October 26th. SunTrust Banks reiterated a hold rating and set a $1,100.00 price target on shares of Markel in a report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a hold rating and set a $1,050.00 price target on shares of Markel in a report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $1,109.50.

Markel (MKL) opened at $1,123.37 on Friday. Markel has a 1-year low of $612.00 and a 1-year high of $1,157.30. The company has a market capitalization of $15,610.00, a P/E ratio of 250.19 and a beta of 1.04. The company has a current ratio of 0.55, a quick ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28.

Markel (NYSE:MKL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The insurance provider reported ($18.82) EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of ($18.03) by ($0.79). Markel had a return on equity of 0.83% and a net margin of 1.60%. equities research analysts anticipate that Markel will post 5.56 EPS for the current year.

In related news, insider Alan I. Kirshner sold 100 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $1,133.50, for a total value of $113,350.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Vice Chairman Steven A. Markel sold 200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, October 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,067.57, for a total value of $213,514.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 109,220 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $116,599,995.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 2,307 shares of company stock valued at $2,535,956. Corporate insiders own 2.53% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Markel by 2.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,129,189 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,101,931,000 after purchasing an additional 28,104 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Markel by 0.4% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 836,138 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $815,955,000 after acquiring an additional 3,590 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. grew its position in Markel by 0.9% in the third quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 665,259 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $710,484,000 after acquiring an additional 6,092 shares during the period. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C grew its position in Markel by 0.6% in the third quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 567,924 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $606,532,000 after acquiring an additional 3,264 shares during the period. Finally, Broad Run Investment Management LLC grew its position in Markel by 1.1% in the second quarter. Broad Run Investment Management LLC now owns 257,017 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $250,813,000 after acquiring an additional 2,695 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.79% of the company’s stock.

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Markel Company Profile

Markel Corporation is a financial holding company serving a range of markets. The Company’s principal business markets and underwrites specialty insurance products. It monitors and reports its ongoing underwriting operations in three segments: U.S. Insurance, International Insurance and Reinsurance. The Company, through its subsidiary Markel Ventures, Inc (Markel Ventures), owns interests in various industrial and service businesses that operate outside of the specialty insurance marketplace.

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