W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Wednesday. The brokerage presently has a $79.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target suggests a potential upside of 11.42% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “W.R. Berkley has been investing in a number of startups since 2006 as well as establishing new units, 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 while 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. However, exposure to highly competitive insurance market along with low interest rate scenario and cat losses are dampeners. Also, shares of W.R. Berkley underperformed the industry, year to date. The company is set to release fourth quarter results on Jan 30. A Zacks Rank #2 increases the predictive power of a beat, but combined with a negative Earnings ESP of 7.41% makes prediction difficult.”

Several other research analysts also recently commented on the company. UBS Group boosted their target price on W. R. Berkley from $63.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of W. R. Berkley in a research note on Sunday, September 3rd. Buckingham Research started coverage on W. R. Berkley in a research note on Monday, September 11th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $67.00 price objective for the company. Deutsche Bank upped their price objective on W. R. Berkley from $65.00 to $66.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Finally, Bank of America upped their price objective on W. R. Berkley from $73.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. W. R. Berkley presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $70.38.

W. R. Berkley (WRB) remained flat at $$70.90 on Wednesday. The stock had a trading volume of 160,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 399,427. W. R. Berkley has a 12-month low of $62.00 and a 12-month high of $73.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a current ratio of 0.34 and a quick ratio of 0.34. The firm has a market cap of $8,635.25, a P/E ratio of 16.60, a PEG ratio of 3.24 and a beta of 0.92.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Berkley W R Corp bought a new position in shares of W. R. Berkley during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $5,454,000. Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of W. R. Berkley by 3.1% during the 2nd quarter. Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management LLC now owns 692,816 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $47,923,000 after buying an additional 20,651 shares in the last quarter. Swiss National Bank lifted its holdings in shares of W. R. Berkley by 2.8% in the 2nd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 353,748 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $24,469,000 after purchasing an additional 9,600 shares in the last quarter. Zurich Insurance Group Ltd FI bought a new position in shares of W. R. Berkley in the 2nd quarter worth $1,478,000. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its holdings in shares of W. R. Berkley by 3.0% in the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,908,220 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $131,991,000 after purchasing an additional 56,171 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.03% of the company’s stock.

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About W. R. Berkley

W. R. Berkley Corporation is an insurance holding company. It operates through two segments: Insurance and Reinsurance-Global. The Insurance segment consists of its commercial insurance business operations, comprising excess and surplus lines, and admitted lines, throughout the United States, as well as its insurance business operations in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, Scandinavia, Asia and Australia.

Analyst Recommendations for W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB)

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