Markel's Shares Hit 52-Week High - Analyst Blog

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On Mar 18, Markel Corp. ( MKL ) touched a 52-week high of $591.74 following the company's strong financial performance as reported in the fourth quarter of 2013.

With respect to earnings performance, Markel has delivered positive earnings surprises in two of the last four quarters with an average beat of 11.3%. In the last reported quarter, Markel posted impressive results including both bottom-line and top-line growth.

Markel reported fourth-quarter 2013 operating net income of $5.92 per share, which improved 2.4% year over year. Bottom-line year-over-year growth was driven by improving operating revenues.

Total operating revenues of property and casualty insurer during the fourth quarter surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also surged 58.4% year over year on account of higher premiums and increased investment income. The Excess and Surplus Lines, Specialty Admitted segments and the newly formed Alterra segment contributed significantly to top-line growth.

Markel also posted solid underwriting results on the back of its strong insurance business. Markel's legacy underwriting segments posted profitable growth and strong underwriting results which contributed to overall growth during the fourth quarter.

Markel intends to remain focused on exploring new growth opportunities, which includes the latest acquisition of Abbey Protection plc. The acquisition is expected to complement international insurance portfolio of the company. We expect this endeavor to enhance its operational performance besides helping it achieve long-term objectives and enhance shareholder value. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for the company is nearly 12%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 earnings is currently pegged at $23.63 per share and at $27.41 per share for 2015. These represent year-over-year growth estimates of 23.1% and 16%, respectively.

The year-to-date return from the stock came in at 1.46%, better the S&P's return of 1.29%.

Zacks Rank

Markel presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks worth mentioning in the property and casualty insurance industry include Alleghany Corp. ( Y ), AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. ( AFSI ) and Fidelity National Financial, Inc. ( FNF ). All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).



AMTRUST FIN SVC (AFSI): Free Stock Analysis Report

FIDELITY NAT FI (FNF): Free Stock Analysis Report

MARKEL CORP (MKL): Free Stock Analysis Report

ALLEGHANY CORP (Y): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AFSI , FNF , MKL , Y

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