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BRK.B vs. WRB: Which Stock Should Value Investors Buy Now?

Investors looking for stocks in the Insurance - Property and Casualty sector might want to consider either Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B) or W.R. Berkley (WRB). But which of these two stocks is more attractive to value investors? We'll need to take a closer look to find out.

There are plenty of strategies for discovering value stocks, but we have found that pairing a strong Zacks Rank with an impressive grade in the Value category of our Style Scores system produces the best returns. The Zacks Rank is a proven strategy that targets companies with positive earnings estimate revision trends, while our Style Scores work to grade companies based on specific traits.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy), while W.R. Berkley has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold) right now. This system places an emphasis on companies that have seen positive earnings estimate revisions, so investors should feel comfortable knowing that BRK.B is likely seeing its earnings outlook improve to a greater extent. But this is just one factor that value investors are interested in.

Value investors are also interested in a number of tried-and-true valuation metrics that help show when a company is undervalued at its current share price levels.

Our Value category highlights undervalued companies by looking at a variety of key metrics, including the popular P/E ratio, as well as the P/S ratio, earnings yield, cash flow per share, and a variety of other fundamentals that have been used by value investors for years.

BRK.B currently has a forward P/E ratio of 19.82, while WRB has a forward P/E of 26.64. We also note that BRK.B has a PEG ratio of 2.83. This popular figure is similar to the widely-used P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also considers a company's expected EPS growth rate. WRB currently has a PEG ratio of 2.96.

Another notable valuation metric for BRK.B is its P/B ratio of 1.24. The P/B ratio is used to compare a stock's market value with its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. For comparison, WRB has a P/B of 2.14.

These metrics, and several others, help BRK.B earn a Value grade of B, while WRB has been given a Value grade of C.

BRK.B is currently sporting an improving earnings outlook, which makes it stick out in our Zacks Rank model. And, based on the above valuation metrics, we feel that BRK.B is likely the superior value option right now.


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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 Nasdaq, Inc.

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