W.R. Berkley Corp. (WRB) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold
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.”
Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on WRB. Royal Bank Of Canada boosted their price objective on shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. from $57.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a report on Wednesday, July 13th. Compass Point boosted their price objective on shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Tuesday, July 26th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG set a $52.00 price objective on shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. and gave the stock a sell rating in a report on Monday, September 12th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and five have issued a hold rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $56.83.
Shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. (NYSE:WRB) opened at 58.18 on Friday. W.R. Berkley Corp. has a 1-year low of $47.54 and a 1-year high of $60.08. The stock has a market cap of $7.14 billion, a PE ratio of 15.26 and a beta of 0.82. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $57.92 and a 200 day moving average of $57.24.
W.R. Berkley Corp. (NYSE:WRB) last issued its earnings results on Monday, July 25th. The company reported $0.82 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.77 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $1.56 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.96 billion. W.R. Berkley Corp. had a net margin of 6.69% and a return on equity of 9.53%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.81 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that W.R. Berkley Corp. will post $3.41 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, October 5th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 20th were given a dividend of $0.63 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, September 16th. This is a boost from W.R. Berkley Corp.’s previous dividend of $0.12. W.R. Berkley Corp.’s payout ratio is presently 13.65%.
A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WRB. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. by 3.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,765,883 shares of the company’s stock worth $465,333,000 after buying an additional 268,774 shares during the last quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. by 0.3% in the second quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 6,637,416 shares of the company’s stock worth $397,714,000 after buying an additional 16,820 shares during the last quarter. Boston Partners boosted its position in shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. by 2.8% in the second quarter. Boston Partners now owns 4,879,276 shares of the company’s stock worth $292,366,000 after buying an additional 130,800 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its position in shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. by 8.3% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 4,506,370 shares of the company’s stock worth $270,022,000 after buying an additional 346,404 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp boosted its position in shares of W.R. Berkley Corp. by 1.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,929,064 shares of the company’s stock worth $220,818,000 after buying an additional 74,823 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 70.99% of the company’s stock.
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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