Markel (MKL) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Markel (NYSE:MKL) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, January 23rd.

According to Zacks, “Markel 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. Also, shares of Markel have underperformed the industry in a year’s time.”

Other analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Markel in a research note on Thursday, October 26th. SunTrust Banks restated a “hold” rating and set a $1,100.00 target price on shares of Markel in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada restated a “hold” rating and set a $1,050.00 target price on shares of Markel in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Markel presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $1,172.00.

Shares of Markel (NYSE:MKL) traded up $17.49 during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $1,115.01. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 23,465 shares, compared to its average volume of 41,776. The company has a quick ratio of 0.55, a current ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28. Markel has a 1 year low of $936.95 and a 1 year high of $1,157.30. The stock has a market capitalization of $15,500.00, a P/E ratio of 43.25 and a beta of 0.95.

In related news, Vice Chairman Steven A. Markel sold 200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $1,078.70, for a total transaction of $215,740.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 108,761 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $117,320,490.70. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Richard R. Whitt III sold 300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,060.02, for a total value 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 2,438 shares of company stock valued at $2,691,350. 2.53% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Captrust Financial Advisors bought a new position in shares of Markel in the 4th quarter worth $9,462,000. California State Teachers Retirement System raised its stake in Markel by 1.1% during the 4th quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 24,066 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $27,414,000 after buying an additional 259 shares during the period. Two Sigma Securities LLC acquired a new stake in Markel during the 4th quarter worth $478,000. Brandywine Global Investment Management LLC raised its stake in Markel by 4.2% during the 4th quarter. Brandywine Global Investment Management LLC now owns 13,059 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $14,876,000 after buying an additional 521 shares during the period. Finally, Advisor Group Inc. raised its stake in Markel by 22.1% during the 4th quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,125 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $2,424,000 after buying an additional 385 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 77.06% of the company’s stock.

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About Markel

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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