Markel (MKL) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Markel (NYSE:MKL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Friday. The brokerage currently has a $1,253.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price points to a potential upside of 12.04% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Markel have outperformed the industry in a year. 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. The latest acquisition of State National Companies will help Markel boost collateral protection insurance coverage capabilities. However, exposure to catastrophe loss will always induce volatility in underwriting results. Escalating expenses weighing on margin expansion remain a concern.”

MKL has been the subject of several other reports. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $1,050.00 price objective on shares of Markel in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. SunTrust Banks reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $1,100.00 price objective on shares of Markel in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Markel in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. Markel currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $1,113.25.

Markel (NYSE MKL) traded down $1.35 on Friday, hitting $1,118.37. The stock had a trading volume of 57,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 40,033. Markel has a 12 month low of $612.00 and a 12 month high of $1,157.30. The company has a quick ratio of 0.55, a current ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28. The company has a market capitalization of $15,480.00, a PE ratio of 249.08 and a beta of 1.04.

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. Insiders sold 2,307 shares of company stock valued at $2,529,336 over the last 90 days. 2.53% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Ackerman Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Markel in the second quarter valued at $298,000. Toronto Dominion Bank raised its stake in shares of Markel by 11.0% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 171 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $167,000 after purchasing an additional 17 shares in the last quarter. Royal Bank of Canada raised its stake in shares of Markel by 2.4% in the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 28,484 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $27,797,000 after purchasing an additional 665 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its stake in shares of Markel by 7.9% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 167,577 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $163,532,000 after purchasing an additional 12,296 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its stake in shares of Markel by 50.0% in the second quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 3,000 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $2,928,000 after purchasing an additional 1,000 shares in the last quarter. 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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