Markel Co. (NYSE:MKL) Short Interest Update

Markel Co. (NYSE:MKL) was the target of a large drop in short interest in January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 124,400 shares, a drop of 5.0% from the January 15th total of 131,000 shares. Currently, 0.9% of the company’s stock are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 36,100 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 3.4 days.

In other news, Chairman Alan I. Kirshner sold 400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,144.69, for a total transaction of $457,876.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 20,853 shares in the company, valued at approximately $23,870,220.57. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Richard R. Whitt III sold 250 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, December 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,132.29, for a total transaction of $283,072.50. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 9,333 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,567,662.57. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 1,400 shares of company stock worth $1,589,849 in the last 90 days. 2.34% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in MKL. Madison Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Markel in the 4th quarter worth $75,194,000. Anchor Capital Advisors LLC raised its holdings in Markel by 134.4% in the 4th quarter. Anchor Capital Advisors LLC now owns 54,578 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $62,392,000 after acquiring an additional 31,293 shares during the period. Weitz Investment Management Inc. raised its holdings in Markel by 141.3% in the 4th quarter. Weitz Investment Management Inc. now owns 48,255 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $55,164,000 after acquiring an additional 28,255 shares during the period. Select Equity Group L.P. raised its holdings in Markel by 128.8% in the 3rd quarter. Select Equity Group L.P. now owns 38,620 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $45,645,000 after acquiring an additional 21,737 shares during the period. Finally, Strs Ohio raised its holdings in Markel by 874.5% in the 4th quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 20,824 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $23,805,000 after acquiring an additional 18,687 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.91% of the company’s stock.

A number of research analysts have recently weighed in on MKL shares. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Markel from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, February 13th. Royal Bank of Canada upgraded shares of Markel from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their price target for the company from $1,250.00 to $1,325.00 in a report on Thursday, December 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. Markel has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $1,136.50.

Shares of MKL opened at $1,323.64 on Tuesday. The company has a market capitalization of $18.28 billion, a PE ratio of 10.26 and a beta of 0.73. Markel has a one year low of $950.16 and a one year high of $1,325.23. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a current ratio of 0.60 and a quick ratio of 0.60. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $1,206.95 and its 200 day moving average price is $1,159.84.

Markel (NYSE:MKL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, February 4th. The insurance provider reported $36.26 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $7.07 by $29.19. The firm had revenue of $2.05 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.07 billion. Markel had a net margin of 18.81% and a return on equity of 5.61%. Analysts anticipate that Markel will post 39.76 earnings per share for the current year.

Markel Company Profile

Markel Corporation, a diverse financial holding company, markets and underwrites specialty insurance products in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and internationally. Its Insurance segment offers general and professional liability, property, personal lines, marine and energy, specialty programs, and workers' compensation insurance products.

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