Zacks: Analysts Set $53.00 Target Price for Mercury General Co. (NYSE:MCY)

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

Brokerages have set a 12-month consensus price objective of $53.00 for the company and are forecasting that the company will post $0.90 earnings per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given Mercury General an industry rank of 145 out of 256 based on the ratings given to related companies.

A number of research firms recently commented on MCY. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Mercury General from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Mercury General from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, July 26th. Finally, TheStreet raised shares of Mercury General from a “c” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 30th.

In other Mercury General news, VP Charles Toney sold 600 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.45, for a total transaction of $36,270.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 11,803 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $713,491.35. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 34.20% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MCY. Advisor Group Inc. grew its position in Mercury General by 28.3% during the 4th quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 1,594 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $83,000 after purchasing an additional 352 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. grew its position in Mercury General by 20.2% during the 4th quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 142,014 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $7,344,000 after purchasing an additional 23,884 shares during the last quarter. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. grew its position in Mercury General by 168.6% during the 4th quarter. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. now owns 36,855 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,906,000 after purchasing an additional 23,133 shares during the last quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan purchased a new position in Mercury General during the 4th quarter worth $333,000. Finally, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans grew its position in Mercury General by 6.2% during the 4th quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 6,887 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $356,000 after purchasing an additional 401 shares during the last quarter. 43.91% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE MCY traded up $0.12 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $56.47. The company had a trading volume of 3,210 shares, compared to its average volume of 269,110. The company has a current ratio of 0.42, a quick ratio of 0.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21. The stock has a 50 day simple moving average of $62.11. The stock has a market cap of $3.17 billion, a PE ratio of 31.38, a P/E/G ratio of 0.44 and a beta of 0.24. Mercury General has a 52-week low of $47.96 and a 52-week high of $65.22.

Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) last posted its earnings results on Monday, July 29th. The insurance provider reported $0.74 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by ($0.17). The company had revenue of $936.10 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $922.34 million. Mercury General had a net margin of 5.28% and a return on equity of 7.97%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 6.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.88 earnings per share. Research analysts predict that Mercury General will post 3.47 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 26th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 12th will be given a $0.6275 dividend. This represents a $2.51 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.44%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, September 11th. Mercury General’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 139.44%.

About Mercury General

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.

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