Markel (MKL) Upgraded at 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 Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $1,121.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Markel strives to grow via acquisitions and organic initiatives as these not only diversify and strengthen its portfolio but also expand the company’s international footprint. Solid performance by the Insurance and Reinsurance segments should consistently drive premiums and stands to benefit from a niche focus and effective management of insurance risk. Markel steadily delivers robust results, banking on the strength of its underwriting, investment and Markel Ventures operations, positioning it well for long-term growth. It is also judiciously hiking rates across all its products. The company boasts a sturdy capital position, enabling it to engage in share buybacks. However, escalating expenses put pressure on margins. Shares of Markel have underperformed the industry year to date.”

Several other equities analysts have also commented on MKL. TheStreet lowered shares of Markel from a b rating to a c rating in a report on Wednesday, February 6th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Markel from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, April 5th.

MKL stock opened at $1,012.34 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a quick ratio of 0.54 and a current ratio of 0.54. Markel has a 12 month low of $950.16 and a 12 month high of $1,228.32. The stock has a market capitalization of $14.05 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 49.31 and a beta of 0.85.

Markel (NYSE:MKL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, February 5th. The insurance provider reported $2.27 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $3.31 by ($1.04). Markel had a negative net margin of 2.02% and a positive return on equity of 9.15%. The firm had revenue of $1.89 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.83 billion. Equities research analysts forecast that Markel will post 39.04 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Vice Chairman Steven A. Markel sold 100 shares of Markel stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,062.76, for a total transaction of $106,276.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 101,925 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $108,321,813. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director K Bruce Connell purchased 200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 7th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $968.78 per share, for a total transaction of $193,756.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 2,141 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,074,157.98. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 1,650 shares of company stock worth $1,668,681. Insiders own 2.34% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Pennsylvania Trust Co bought a new stake in shares of Markel during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $252,000. Lincoln Capital LLC grew its holdings in shares of Markel by 0.7% during the 1st quarter. Lincoln Capital LLC now owns 13,883 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $13,831,000 after purchasing an additional 103 shares during the last quarter. Baskin Financial Services Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Markel by 3.9% during the 1st quarter. Baskin Financial Services Inc. now owns 9,590 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $9,554,000 after purchasing an additional 359 shares during the last quarter. Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new stake in shares of Markel during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $211,000. Finally, Virtu Financial LLC grew its holdings in shares of Markel by 27.7% during the 1st quarter. Virtu Financial LLC now owns 863 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $860,000 after purchasing an additional 187 shares during the last quarter. 76.40% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Markel

Markel Corporation, a diverse financial holding company, markets and underwrites specialty insurance products in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and internationally. It operates through three segments: U.S. Insurance, International Insurance, and Reinsurance. The U.S. Insurance segment offers general and professional liability, property, personal line, program, and workers' compensation insurance products, as well as other insurance product lines, such as ocean marine, surety, CPI, and coverages.

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