Zacks: Mercury General Co. (MCY) Given Consensus Recommendation of “Sell” by Brokerages

Shares of Mercury General Co. (NYSE:MCY) have been assigned a consensus broker rating score of 3.50 (Sell) from the two analysts that cover the company, Zacks Investment Research reports. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation and one has issued a hold recommendation on the company.

Analysts have set a 12-month consensus target price of $49.00 for the company and are forecasting that the company will post $0.91 earnings per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given Mercury General an industry rank of 45 out of 256 based on the ratings given to its competitors.

Several research analysts recently issued reports on MCY shares. TheStreet raised Mercury General from a “c” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 30th. ValuEngine raised Mercury General from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 13th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Mercury General from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st.

In related news, Director George Gwyer Braunegg bought 500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 14th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $50.86 per share, with a total value of $25,430.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 34.20% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MCY. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. bought a new position in shares of Mercury General in the 1st quarter worth about $43,981,000. Norges Bank bought a new position in shares of Mercury General in the 4th quarter worth about $31,116,000. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Mercury General by 27.2% in the 1st quarter. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. now owns 974,440 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $48,790,000 after acquiring an additional 208,274 shares in the last quarter. GWM Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Mercury General by 3,615.5% in the 1st quarter. GWM Advisors LLC now owns 203,052 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $941,000 after acquiring an additional 197,587 shares in the last quarter. Finally, WINTON GROUP Ltd bought a new position in shares of Mercury General in the 4th quarter worth about $10,168,000. 43.64% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

NYSE:MCY traded up $0.43 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $60.04. 191,706 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 210,179. The firm has a market cap of $3.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.36, a P/E/G ratio of 0.45 and a beta of 0.18. The company has a quick ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 0.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.22. Mercury General has a one year low of $43.46 and a one year high of $61.83.

Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) last announced its earnings results on Monday, April 29th. The insurance provider reported $0.87 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.77 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $919.50 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $917.25 million. Mercury General had a return on equity of 8.50% and a net margin of 4.78%. Mercury General’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.07 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Mercury General will post 3.55 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 27th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 13th will be given a dividend of $0.6275 per share. This is a positive change from Mercury General’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.63. This represents a $2.51 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.18%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, June 12th. Mercury General’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 139.44%.

About Mercury General

Mercury General Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal automobile insurance in the United States. The company also writes homeowners, commercial automobile, commercial property, mechanical protection, fire, and umbrella insurance. Its automobile insurance products cover collision, property damage, bodily injury, comprehensive, personal injury protection, underinsured and uninsured motorist, and other hazards; and homeowners' insurance products cover dwelling, liability, personal property, fire, and other hazards.

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