Markel (NYSE:MKL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Friday. The brokerage currently has a $1,238.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 12.02% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Markel have outperformed the industry in a year. It also witnessed 2018 estimates move north in the last 60 days.  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.  However, exposure to catastrophe loss will always induce volatility in underwriting results. Escalating expenses weighing on margin expansion remain a concern.”

A number of other analysts also recently commented on MKL. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $1,050.00 target price on shares of Markel in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Markel in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Finally, SunTrust Banks reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $1,100.00 target price on shares of Markel in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $1,109.50.

Markel (NYSE MKL) traded down $1.16 on Friday, reaching $1,105.17. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 60,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 40,500. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28, a quick ratio of 0.55 and a current ratio of 0.55. The stock has a market capitalization of $15,370.00, a P/E ratio of 246.14 and a beta of 1.04. Markel has a one year low of $612.00 and a one year high of $1,157.30.

In other news, EVP Anne G. Waleski sold 838 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $1,102.48, for a total value of $923,878.24. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 4,150 shares in the company, valued at $4,575,292. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Alan I. Kirshner sold 100 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,133.50, for a total value of $113,350.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 2,307 shares of company stock worth $2,535,956 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 2.53% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of MKL. Toronto Dominion Bank lifted its position in shares of Markel by 11.0% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 171 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $167,000 after acquiring an additional 17 shares in the last quarter. Simplex Trading LLC lifted its position in shares of Markel by 169.1% in the fourth quarter. Simplex Trading LLC now owns 148 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $168,000 after acquiring an additional 93 shares in the last quarter. First Capital Advisors Group LLC. purchased a new stake in shares of Markel in the third quarter valued at $202,000. Quantbot Technologies LP lifted its position in shares of Markel by 775.0% in the second quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 210 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $204,000 after acquiring an additional 186 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Archford Capital Strategies LLC lifted its position in shares of Markel by 34,592.5% in the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 13,877 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $204,000 after acquiring an additional 13,837 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.79% of the company’s stock.

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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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