W. R. Berkley Corp (NYSE:WRB) Sees Large Decline in Short Interest

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W. R. Berkley Corp (NYSE:WRB) was the recipient of a significant drop in short interest during the month of October. As of October 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,170,000 shares, a drop of 17.2% from the September 30th total of 3,830,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 608,700 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 5.2 days. Currently, 2.2% of the company’s shares are sold short.

A number of research analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on W. R. Berkley from $63.00 to $73.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 14th. ValuEngine cut W. R. Berkley from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 22nd. Royal Bank of Canada raised their target price on W. R. Berkley to $68.00 and gave the stock a “sector perform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 24th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Zacks Investment Research raised W. R. Berkley from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Saturday, October 19th. Finally, Buckingham Research raised their target price on W. R. Berkley from $63.00 to $64.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 12th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. W. R. Berkley presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $65.63.

W. R. Berkley stock traded down $0.18 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $68.28. 68,911 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 675,788. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $70.35 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $67.92. The company has a current ratio of 0.36, a quick ratio of 0.36 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38. The company has a market cap of $12.57 billion, a PE ratio of 25.57, a PEG ratio of 2.48 and a beta of 0.66. W. R. Berkley has a one year low of $45.91 and a one year high of $77.54.

W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 22nd. The insurance provider reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.18. The business had revenue of $1.68 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.67 billion. W. R. Berkley had a return on equity of 10.60% and a net margin of 8.82%. The business’s revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.84 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts expect that W. R. Berkley will post 3.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, December 11th. Shareholders of record on Friday, November 22nd will be given a dividend of $0.11 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 21st. W. R. Berkley’s payout ratio is 16.48%.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of W. R. Berkley by 61.0% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 19,067,342 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,257,109,000 after purchasing an additional 7,221,477 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in W. R. Berkley by 53.2% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 14,922,965 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $983,872,000 after buying an additional 5,180,855 shares during the last quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C grew its stake in W. R. Berkley by 36.3% in the 2nd quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 10,897,169 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $718,450,000 after buying an additional 2,899,769 shares during the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its stake in W. R. Berkley by 51.4% in the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 7,106,715 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $468,545,000 after buying an additional 2,412,693 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Boston Partners grew its stake in W. R. Berkley by 55.3% in the 2nd quarter. Boston Partners now owns 3,861,737 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $254,643,000 after buying an additional 1,374,347 shares during the last quarter. 70.59% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

W. R. Berkley Company Profile

W. R. Berkley Corporation, an insurance holding company, operates as a commercial lines writer in the United States and internationally. It operates through two segments, Insurance and Reinsurance. The Insurance segment underwrites commercial insurance business, including premises operations, commercial automobile, property, products liability, and professional liability lines.

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