The board of directors of W.R. Berkley CorporationWRB approved a special dividend of 50 cents in its effort to share more profit with shareholders. The special dividend will be paid on Dec 12 to shareholders of record on Nov 28.
The company has already paid special dividend of 50 each twice this year. With the current approval, the property and casualty insurer will pay $1.50 as special dividend in 2018. The company has a record of paying special dividend nine times since 2012 besides hiking dividend for 12 straight years. This reflect the company's operational excellence. The insurer surpassed estimates in the last five quarters.
Concurrently, the board of directors announced 15 cents per share in quarterly dividend. Its dividend yield of 0.8% betters the industry average of 0.4%.
W.R. Berkley has a solid balance sheet with sufficient liquidity and robust cash flow. The company's initiatives are supported by its solid cash position, which, in turn, is driven by consistently strong operational performance.
The P&C insurer has been enhancing its investors' value through prudent capital deployment in the form of share buybacks, special dividend and dividend hikes. Such initiatives not only reflect the operational and financial strength of the company but also make the stock attractive for yield-seeking investors.
Also, its return on equity, a profitability measure of how efficiently the company is utilizing its shareholders money, is 9%, higher than the industry average of 6.5%. Year to date, the company has returned about $262 million capital to its shareholders.
Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) insurer have gained 8.1% year to date, outperforming the industry's increase of 6%. We expect solid top-line growth and a robust capital position, which aid shareholder friendly moves, to help the stock price rally.
Other Stocks to Consider
Investors interested in the same space can also consider Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.B , Mercury General Corp. MCY and State Auto Financial Corp. STFC , each sporting Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .
Berkshire Hathaway engages in insurance, freight rail transportation, and utility businesses. The company delivered positive earnings surprise of 11.60% in the last quarter.
Mercury General engages in writing personal automobile insurance in the United States. The company delivered positive earnings surprise of 85.00% in the last quarter.
State Auto Financial engages in writing personal, business, and specialty insurance products. The company delivered positive earnings surprise of 62.96% in the last quarter.
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