Markel (MKL) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Markel (NYSE:MKL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $1,253.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock.

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.”

Several other brokerages have also recently commented on MKL. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $1,100.00 price objective on shares of Markel in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $1,050.00 price objective on shares of Markel in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of Markel in a research note on Thursday, October 26th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $1,113.25.

Markel (NYSE MKL) opened at $1,117.33 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $15,520.00, a P/E ratio of 248.85 and a beta of 1.04. Markel has a 12 month low of $887.40 and a 12 month high of $1,157.30. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28, a quick ratio of 0.55 and a current ratio of 0.55.

In other news, Director Lemuel E. Lewis acquired 1,000 shares of Markel stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was bought at an average price of $1,080.96 per share, with a total value of $1,080,960.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 5,294 shares in the company, valued at $5,722,602.24. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Vice Chairman Steven A. Markel sold 200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,067.57, for a total transaction of $213,514.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 109,220 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $116,599,995.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 2,507 shares of company stock valued at $2,752,492. 2.53% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of MKL. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in Markel by 2.6% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,129,189 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,101,931,000 after purchasing an additional 28,104 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Markel by 0.4% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 836,138 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $815,955,000 after purchasing an additional 3,590 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. lifted its position in Markel by 0.9% during the third quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 665,259 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $710,484,000 after purchasing an additional 6,092 shares during the last quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C lifted its position in Markel by 0.6% during the third quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 567,924 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $606,532,000 after purchasing an additional 3,264 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Baillie Gifford & Co. lifted its position in Markel by 0.6% during the second quarter. Baillie Gifford & Co. now owns 560,203 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $546,680,000 after purchasing an additional 3,147 shares during the last quarter. 76.79% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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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