Zacks Upgrades W.R. Berkley to Outperform (WRB)
W.R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) was upgraded by Zacks from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report issued on Thursday. The firm currently has a $54.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 19.63% from the company’s current price.
Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are upgrading our recommendation on W.R. Berkley Corp. to Outperform from Neutral following its first-quarter earnings beat. Earnings were also up 35% year over year. The earnings beat came on the back of higher premiums written, pricing increases that outpaced loss cost trends and a lower share count. The company witnessed stable retention along with a general rate hike over the past several quarters. We believe that the insurance pricing cycle has entered a safe zone and the magnitude of the price rise will increase going forward. The company’s investments in a number of startups during the last four years will enable it to take greater advantage of the improved market scenario. Its International business is also promising as it reveals prospects for long-term earnings growth. However, exposure to catastrophes and a low interest rate environment are some headwinds. “
WRB has been the subject of a number of other recent research reports. Analysts at Compass Point reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of W.R. Berkley in a research note on Friday, April 25th. They now have a $49.00 price target on the stock. Analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods raised their price target on shares of W.R. Berkley from $45.00 to $48.00 in a research note on Thursday, April 24th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.88.
W.R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) traded down 0.24% on Thursday, hitting $45.14. 327,969 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. W.R. Berkley has a one year low of $37.82 and a one year high of $45.58. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $44.41 and its 200-day moving average is $42.17. The company has a market cap of $5.763 billion and a P/E ratio of 11.42.
W.R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, April 22nd. The company reported $1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the analysts’ consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.22. The company had revenue of $1.71 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.65 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.83 earnings per share. W.R. Berkley’s revenue was up 13.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that W.R. Berkley will post $3.50 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 10th will be given a dividend of $0.11 per share. This represents a $0.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.97%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 6th. This is a boost from W.R. Berkley’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10.
W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB) is an insurance holding company.
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