W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

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W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have a $77.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 15.67% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “W.R. Berkley’s shares have outperformed its industry in a year’s time. The company has been investing in numerous startups since 2006 and establishing new units in growing international markets provided diversification benefits. Establishing operating units in North and Southeast Asia are also in line with the strategy. It boasts a prudent capital management policy that also enhances shareholders value. The company’s international business has potential for long-term earnings growth. The company witnessed steady net premium growth on the back of rate improvement. However, exposure to a highly competitive reinsurance market and pressure on the rate environment are concerns. Rising debt has been inducing higher interest expenses. Exposure to catastrophe loss inducing volatility in underwriting profitability remains a headwind.”

WRB has been the subject of several other reports. Royal Bank of Canada set a GBX 5,200 ($67.95) target price on shares of London Stock Exchange Group and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 24th. ValuEngine raised shares of XPO Logistics from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, April 4th. Deutsche Bank reissued a “hold” rating and issued a GBX 1,775 ($23.19) price target on shares of in a report on Wednesday, June 26th. Boenning Scattergood reissued a “hold” rating on shares of First Commonwealth Financial in a report on Wednesday, April 24th. Finally, UBS Group boosted their price target on shares of W. R. Berkley from $53.00 to $56.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 24th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $61.01.

NYSE:WRB opened at $66.57 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48, a quick ratio of 0.37 and a current ratio of 0.37. The stock has a market cap of $12.13 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.83 and a beta of 0.73. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $66.27. W. R. Berkley has a 1-year low of $45.91 and a 1-year high of $68.73.

W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, April 23rd. The insurance provider reported $0.94 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.31. The firm had revenue of $1.59 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.62 billion. W. R. Berkley had a net margin of 8.47% and a return on equity of 10.21%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 1.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.87 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that W. R. Berkley will post 2.63 EPS for the current year.

In other news, Director Mark Ellwood Brockbank sold 77,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.61, for a total transaction of $5,128,970.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 51,329 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,419,024.69. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 21.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Jaffetilchin Investment Partners LLC purchased a new stake in shares of W. R. Berkley during the first quarter worth $756,000. California Public Employees Retirement System grew its holdings in shares of W. R. Berkley by 14.5% during the first quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 642,315 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $54,417,000 after buying an additional 81,356 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of W. R. Berkley during the fourth quarter worth $251,000. Commonwealth Bank of Australia grew its holdings in shares of W. R. Berkley by 2.2% during the first quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 18,852 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,593,000 after buying an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Princeton Global Asset Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of W. R. Berkley by 28.6% during the first quarter. Princeton Global Asset Management LLC now owns 3,150 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $266,000 after buying an additional 700 shares in the last quarter. 72.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

W. R. Berkley Company Profile

W. R. Berkley Corporation, an insurance holding company, operates as a commercial lines writer in the United States and internationally. It operates through two segments, Insurance and Reinsurance. The Insurance segment underwrites commercial insurance business, including premises operations, commercial automobile, property, products liability, and professional liability lines.

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Analyst Recommendations for W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB)

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