Markel Co. (NYSE:MKL) sees sharp rise in short-term interest

Markel Co. (NYSE: MKL – Get a rating) was the target of a significant increase in short interest in September. As of September 15, there was short interest totaling 117,200 shares, an increase of 17.1% from the August 31 total of 100,100 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume of 53,800 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.2 days. About 0.9% of the stock’s shares are sold short.

Markel stock down 1.6%

Shares of MKL were down $17.27 during Friday trading hours, hitting $1,084.22. 65,395 shares of the company were traded, against an average volume of 47,898. The company has a market capitalization of $14.66 billion, a PE ratio of 616.04 and a beta of 0.71. The company’s 50-day moving average is $1,199.74 and its 200-day moving average is $1,310.71. Markel has a 52-week low of $1,064.09 and a 52-week high of $1,519.24. The company has a debt ratio of 0.37, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a current ratio of 0.65.

Markel (NYSE: MKL- Get a rating) last announced its results on Tuesday, August 2. The insurance provider reported earnings per share of $45.02 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $21.43 from $23.59. Markel had a return on equity of 6.03% and a net margin of 0.83%. In the same quarter a year earlier, the company posted earnings per share of $19.14. On average, equity research analysts expect Markel to post EPS of 67.04 for the current fiscal year.

Insider activity

In related news, the director A. Lynne Puckett purchased 48 shares of the company in a trade dated Thursday, August 4. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $1,196.54 per share, with a total value of $57,433.92. Following completion of the transaction, the administrator now directly owns 873 shares of the company, valued at $1,044,579.42. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available via this hyperlink. In other news, CEO Thomas Sinnickson Gayner bought 50 shares of the stock in a trade on Thursday, August 4. The shares were purchased at an average price of $1,202.46 per share, for a total transaction of $60,123.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the CEO now directly owns 42,077 shares of the company, valued at approximately $50,595,909.42. The purchase was disclosed in an SEC filing, which is available via this link. Also, director A. Lynne Puckett bought 48 shares in a trade on Thursday, August 4. The stock was purchased at an average price of $1,196.54 per share, for a total transaction of $57,433.92. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 873 shares of the company, valued at $1,044,579.42. Disclosure of this purchase can be found here. Insiders purchased a total of 181 shares of the company worth $218,307 over the past 90 days. 1.74% of the shares are currently held by insiders of the company.

Markel Institutional Trading

Several hedge funds have recently increased or reduced their stakes in MKL. JFS Wealth Advisors LLC increased its stake in Markel by 500.0% in Q1. JFS Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 18 shares of the insurance provider valued at $27,000 after acquiring 15 additional shares in the last quarter. Riverview Trust Co acquired a new position in Markel in Q1 worth approximately $32,000. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. acquired a new position in Markel in Q1 worth approximately $32,000. Clearstead Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Markel in Q1 worth approximately $38,000. Finally, Evolution Advisers Inc. increased its stake in Markel by 300.0% in the second quarter. Evolution Advisers Inc. now owns 28 shares of the insurance provider valued at $38,000 after acquiring 21 additional shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors hold 77.56% of the company’s shares.

Changes to analyst ratings

A number of research analysts have commented on the company. Truist Financial lowered its price target on Markel from $1,500.00 to $1,300.00 and placed a “hold” rating on the stock in a Friday, August 5 research note. Royal Bank of Canada lowered its target price on Markel from $1,650.00 to $1,600.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the stock in a Thursday, Aug. 4 research note. Finally, TheStreet downgraded Markel from a “b-” rating to a “c” rating in a Friday, August 5 research note. Three analysts gave the stock a hold rating and two gave the stock a buy rating. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $1,450.00.

Markel Company Profile

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Markel Corporation, a diversified financial holding company, markets and underwrites specialty insurance products in the United States, Bermuda, United Kingdom, Rest of Europe, Canada, Asia Pacific and the Middle East . Its Insurance segment offers general and professional liability insurance products, personal, marine and energy insurance, specialty programs and workers’ compensation; and property coverages which include fire insurance, allied lines and other specialized property coverage, including property risks exposed to catastrophes, such as earthquake and wind.

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