W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday, December 27th. They currently have $79.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “W.R. Berkley has been investing in a number of startups since 2006 as well as establishing new units, which enables it to take advantage of an improved market scenario. Formation of operating units in North and Southeast Asia is in tandem with the strategy while divestment of wholly owned investment is expected to enhance long term shareholder’s value. Its international business has potential for long-term earnings growth. Reserving discipline and strong capital position are other positives. However, exposure to highly competitive insurance market along with low interest rate scenario and cat losses are dampeners. Also, shares of W.R. Berkley underperformed the industry, year to date. The company is set to release fourth quarter results on Jan 30. A Zacks Rank #2 increases the predictive power of a beat, but combined with a negative Earnings ESP of 7.41% makes prediction difficult.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a hold rating and issued a $69.00 target price on shares of W. R. Berkley in a report on Friday, November 17th. Deutsche Bank upped their price target on W. R. Berkley from $65.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Bank of America upped their price target on W. R. Berkley from $73.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Boenning Scattergood restated a hold rating on shares of W. R. Berkley in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Finally, UBS Group upped their price target on W. R. Berkley from $63.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $70.38.

Shares of W. R. Berkley (NYSE WRB) traded down $0.11 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $70.02. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 553,940 shares, compared to its average volume of 416,345. W. R. Berkley has a fifty-two week low of $62.00 and a fifty-two week high of $73.17. The stock has a market cap of $8,530.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.48, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.91. The company has a current ratio of 0.34, a quick ratio of 0.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45.

W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The insurance provider reported $0.36 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.32 by $0.04. W. R. Berkley had a net margin of 7.09% and a return on equity of 6.14%. sell-side analysts anticipate that W. R. Berkley will post 2.43 EPS for the current year.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WRB. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in W. R. Berkley by 2.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 8,908,862 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $616,226,000 after buying an additional 184,805 shares during the last quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC lifted its position in W. R. Berkley by 2.6% in the third quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 6,939,857 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $463,166,000 after buying an additional 176,869 shares during the last quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C lifted its position in W. R. Berkley by 19.3% in the third quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 4,252,727 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $283,827,000 after buying an additional 687,849 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its position in W. R. Berkley by 18.5% in the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,859,546 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $190,846,000 after buying an additional 446,774 shares during the last quarter. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its position in W. R. Berkley by 4.2% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,988,297 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $132,679,000 after buying an additional 80,077 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.03% of the company’s stock.

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About W. R. Berkley

W. R. Berkley Corporation is an insurance holding company. It operates through two segments: Insurance and Reinsurance-Global. The Insurance segment consists of its commercial insurance business operations, comprising excess and surplus lines, and admitted lines, throughout the United States, as well as its insurance business operations in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, Scandinavia, Asia and Australia.

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