W.R. Berkley Corp. (WRB) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. (NYSE:WRB) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $64.00 price objective on the stock.
According to Zacks, “W.R. Berkley has invested in a number of startups since 2006 which enables it to take advantage of an improved market scenario. Formation of operating units in North and Southeast Asia is in tandem with the strategy. Also, the divestment of wholly owned investment is expected to enhance long term shareholder’s value. Its international business has potential for long-term earnings growth. Reserving discipline and strong capital position are other positives. The recent formation of Berkley Transactional will help it to benefit from opportunities offered by the insurance market. The Zacks Consensus Estimates for 2016 has also witnessed upward revision over the last few weeks. However, W.R. Berkley’s exposure to highly competitive insurance market along with low interest rate scenario and cat losses raises concerns. Yet, riding on solid operational performance, the company has delivered positive surprise in each of the last four quarters.”
A number of other research firms have also weighed in on WRB. Royal Bank Of Canada upped their price target on shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. from $57.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 13th. Compass Point upped their price target on shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 26th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG set a $52.00 price target on shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. and gave the stock a sell rating in a research report on Monday, September 12th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $56.83.
Shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. (NYSE:WRB) opened at 57.89 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.11 billion, a PE ratio of 15.19 and a beta of 0.80. W.R. Berkley Corp. has a 1-year low of $47.54 and a 1-year high of $60.08. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $58.11 and a 200 day moving average of $56.99.
W.R. Berkley Corp. (NYSE:WRB) last announced its earnings results on Monday, July 25th. The company reported $0.82 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.77 by $0.05. The company earned $1.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.96 billion. W.R. Berkley Corp. had a net margin of 6.69% and a return on equity of 9.53%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.81 earnings per share. Analysts predict that W.R. Berkley Corp. will post $3.41 EPS for the current year.
The business also recently announced a dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 20th will be issued a $0.63 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 16th. This is an increase from W.R. Berkley Corp.’s previous dividend of $0.12. W.R. Berkley Corp.’s payout ratio is 13.65%.
Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Advisor Group Inc. acquired a new stake in W.R. Berkley Corp. during the second quarter worth about $125,000. Sei Investments Co. increased its stake in W.R. Berkley Corp. by 4.4% in the second quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 2,273 shares of the company’s stock worth $136,000 after buying an additional 96 shares during the last quarter. Brightworth acquired a new stake in W.R. Berkley Corp. during the second quarter worth about $213,000. Smith Salley & Associates acquired a new stake in W.R. Berkley Corp. during the second quarter worth about $222,000. Finally, Glenmede Trust Co. NA increased its stake in W.R. Berkley Corp. by 52.2% in the second quarter. Glenmede Trust Co. NA now owns 4,387 shares of the company’s stock worth $262,000 after buying an additional 1,505 shares during the last quarter. 70.99% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
About W.R. Berkley Corp.
W. R. Berkley Corporation is an insurance holding company. The Company operates in the three segments of the property casualty insurance business: Insurance-Domestic, Insurance-International and Reinsurance-Global. Its Insurance-Domestic segment includes commercial insurance business, including excess and surplus lines and admitted lines, primarily throughout the United States.
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