Shares of Mercury General Co. (NYSE:MCY) have been given an average broker rating score of 3.50 (Sell) from the two brokers that provide coverage for the stock, Zacks Investment Research reports. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation and one has assigned a hold recommendation to the company.

Analysts have set a twelve-month consensus price target of $49.00 for the company and are forecasting that the company will post $0.77 earnings per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given Mercury General an industry rank of 77 out of 255 based on the ratings given to its competitors.

Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research lowered Mercury General from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 2nd. ValuEngine lowered Mercury General from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 2nd.

NYSE MCY traded down $0.15 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $51.10. The company had a trading volume of 152,672 shares, compared to its average volume of 432,330. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.79 billion, a PE ratio of 28.39 and a beta of 0.23. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.23, a current ratio of 0.44 and a quick ratio of 0.44. Mercury General has a twelve month low of $43.46 and a twelve month high of $61.83.

Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, February 11th. The insurance provider reported ($0.26) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by ($1.00). The company had revenue of $850.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $832.44 million. Mercury General had a negative net margin of 0.17% and a positive return on equity of 5.91%. Mercury General’s revenue was up 9.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.15 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Mercury General will post 3.6 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 28th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 14th were issued a dividend of $0.627 per share. This represents a $2.51 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.91%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 13th. Mercury General’s payout ratio is presently 139.44%.

In related news, Director George Gwyer Braunegg bought 500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 14th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $50.86 per share, with a total value of $25,430.00. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. 34.20% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Principal Financial Group Inc. grew its holdings in Mercury General by 20.2% during the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 142,014 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $7,344,000 after purchasing an additional 23,884 shares during the period. MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd increased its stake in Mercury General by 68.8% in the fourth quarter. MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd now owns 413,354 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $21,374,000 after acquiring an additional 168,493 shares during the last quarter. Martingale Asset Management L P increased its stake in Mercury General by 91.7% in the fourth quarter. Martingale Asset Management L P now owns 39,308 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $2,033,000 after acquiring an additional 18,801 shares during the last quarter. Man Group plc bought a new position in Mercury General in the third quarter valued at $8,441,000. Finally, WINTON GROUP Ltd bought a new position in Mercury General in the fourth quarter valued at $10,168,000. 48.70% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Mercury General Company Profile

Mercury General Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal automobile insurance in the United States. The company also writes homeowners, commercial automobile, commercial property, mechanical protection, fire, and umbrella insurance. Its automobile insurance products cover collision, property damage, bodily injury, comprehensive, personal injury protection, underinsured and uninsured motorist, and other hazards; and homeowners' insurance products cover dwelling, liability, personal property, fire, and other hazards.

See Also: Should you buy a closed-end mutual fund?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Mercury General (MCY)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Receive News & Ratings for Mercury General Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Mercury General and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.