Zacks Investment Research Lowers Marsh & McLennan Cos. (MMC) to Hold
Marsh & McLennan Cos. (NYSE:MMC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Marsh & McLennan should benefit from improved pricing, stable ratings, strong capital management and expense control initiatives. Its segments Risk and Insurance Services and Consulting are also performing well. The company's effective capital management via share buyback and dividend payment also remains impressive. Also its strategic acquisitions and restructuring initiatives have generated new clients will generate long term growth. Nevertheless, its exposure to currency volatility due to huge international presence, and integration risks from acquisitions raises concern. The company is expected to release third quarter earnings on Oct 25, 2016. The Zacks Consensus earning estimate for the quarter is pegged at $0.69 per share which translates into year over year growth rate of 9.2%.”
Several other analysts have also recently commented on the company. Credit Suisse Group AG set a $55.00 price target on Marsh & McLennan Cos. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, September 12th. Barclays PLC reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price target on shares of Marsh & McLennan Cos. in a report on Friday. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “market perform” rating and issued a $74.00 price target (up from $73.00) on shares of Marsh & McLennan Cos. in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods raised their price target on Marsh & McLennan Cos. from $69.00 to $71.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG raised their price target on Marsh & McLennan Cos. from $67.00 to $71.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $68.50.
Shares of Marsh & McLennan Cos. (NYSE:MMC) traded down 0.85% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $66.39. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,232,936 shares. The company’s 50-day moving average is $67.19 and its 200 day moving average is $65.24. Marsh & McLennan Cos. has a 1-year low of $50.81 and a 1-year high of $68.69. The firm has a market capitalization of $34.41 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.21 and a beta of 0.93.
Marsh & McLennan Cos. (NYSE:MMC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.91 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.90 by $0.01. Marsh & McLennan Cos. had a return on equity of 25.30% and a net margin of 12.54%. The company earned $3.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.38 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.80 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Marsh & McLennan Cos. will post $3.38 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 11th will be given a dividend of $0.34 per share. This represents a $1.36 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.03%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 6th. Marsh & McLennan Cos.’s payout ratio is 43.45%.
In other Marsh & McLennan Cos. news, Chairman Alexander S. Moczarski sold 22,230 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $67.41, for a total transaction of $1,498,524.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 1.51% of the company’s stock.
A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MMC. Washington Trust Bank increased its position in Marsh & McLennan Cos. by 0.6% in the third quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 1,695 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 10 shares during the last quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Marsh & McLennan Cos. during the first quarter valued at $121,000. Howard Hughes Medical Institute bought a new position in Marsh & McLennan Cos. during the first quarter valued at $136,000. Financial Architects Inc increased its position in Marsh & McLennan Cos. by 326.2% in the second quarter. Financial Architects Inc now owns 2,144 shares of the company’s stock valued at $146,000 after buying an additional 1,641 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Integrated Investment Consultants LLC increased its position in Marsh & McLennan Cos. by 10.7% in the second quarter. Integrated Investment Consultants LLC now owns 2,356 shares of the company’s stock valued at $161,000 after buying an additional 228 shares during the last quarter. 85.97% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
About Marsh & McLennan Cos.
Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc is a professional services firm offering clients advice and solutions in risk, strategy and people. The Company is the parent company of various specialty consultants, including Marsh, an insurance broker, intermediary and risk advisor; Guy Carpenter, a risk and reinsurance specialist; Mercer, a provider of human resource (HR) and related financial advice and services, and Oliver Wyman Group, a management, economic and brand consultancy.
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