Riding on a steady growth momentum, shares of
Marsh & McLennan Cos.
) hit a new 52-week high of $50.85 on Jun 5. Notably, this
insurance and brokerage service provider's shares have risen 7.4%
since the beginning of 2014.
Moreover, the stock price appreciated about 5% alone after the
company reported its first-quarter 2014 results in the beginning of
May. Marsh & McLennan also delivered positive earnings surprise
in 2 of the last 4 quarters, with an average beat of 2.4%. The
encouraging momentum of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock is fueled
by improved core growth and a strong competitive position.
Yesterday's closing price represents a robust one-year return of
about 26.7% against a return of 18.4% clocked by the S&P 500
index. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months
stands at approximately 2,085.7K.
On May 2, Marsh & McLennan reported first-quarter operating
earnings of 81 cents per share, which came in line with the Zacks
Consensus Estimate. However, the figure was up about 11% from the
year-ago quarter earnings.
The improved results were led by modest revenue growth across
the company's insurance and consulting businesses, which also drove
the operating margins. These were, however, partially offset by
higher operating, commissions and tax expense.
Since the beginning of 2014, Marsh & McLennan has broadened
its diversified portfolio by acquiring about 8 firms across the
U.S. Despite cash outflows for acquisitions and restructuring, the
company boasts of an improved leverage. Moreover, the expansion in
share buyback dividend hike and confidence of the ratings agencies
restore optimism in the stock.
Currently, Marsh & McLennan carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the peer group include
Blue Capital Reinsurance Holdings Ltd.
Erie Indemnity Co.
), all of which have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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