Short Interest in W. R. Berkley Co. (NYSE:WRB) Decreases By 21.4%


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W. R. Berkley Co. (NYSE:WRB) saw a significant decline in short interest in the month of April. As of April 15th, there was short interest totalling 1,620,000 shares, a decline of 21.4% from the March 31st total of 2,060,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 777,700 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.1 days. Currently, 1.2% of the shares of the company are short sold.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Dean Investment Associates LLC increased its position in shares of W. R. Berkley by 11.1% in the first quarter. Dean Investment Associates LLC now owns 20,136 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,517,000 after acquiring an additional 2,012 shares in the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of W. R. Berkley by 30.5% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 210,606 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $15,869,000 after acquiring an additional 49,245 shares in the last quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC increased its position in shares of W. R. Berkley by 52.9% in the first quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC now owns 13,796 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,039,000 after acquiring an additional 4,776 shares in the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of W. R. Berkley by 11.1% in the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 4,834,478 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $364,278,000 after acquiring an additional 483,672 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Great Lakes Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in W. R. Berkley during the 1st quarter valued at $3,427,000. 71.04% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of research firms have commented on WRB. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price objective on shares of W. R. Berkley from $68.00 to $73.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, January 11th. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft lifted their price objective on shares of W. R. Berkley from $70.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 27th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of W. R. Berkley from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, March 23rd. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of W. R. Berkley from $84.00 to $89.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 28th. Finally, UBS Group upgraded shares of W. R. Berkley from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $73.00 to $80.00 in a research note on Tuesday, March 2nd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. W. R. Berkley has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $79.25.

WRB traded up $0.23 on Tuesday, hitting $80.74. 452,557 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 806,153. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.50, a quick ratio of 0.45 and a current ratio of 0.45. The business’s fifty day moving average is $77.91 and its 200 day moving average is $69.30. W. R. Berkley has a fifty-two week low of $45.25 and a fifty-two week high of $82.24. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 44.98, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.10 and a beta of 0.82.

W. R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) last issued its earnings results on Monday, April 19th. The insurance provider reported $1.08 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.84 by $0.24. W. R. Berkley had a net margin of 4.57% and a return on equity of 7.55%. The company had revenue of $2.48 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.83 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.69 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 46.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that W. R. Berkley will post 2.2 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, March 24th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, March 10th were given a $0.12 dividend. This represents a $0.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.59%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, March 9th. W. R. Berkley’s payout ratio is currently 15.84%.

About W. R. Berkley

W. R. Berkley Corporation, an insurance holding company, operates as a commercial lines writer in the United States and internationally. It operates in two segments, Insurance and Reinsurance & Monoline Excess. The Insurance segment underwrites commercial insurance business, including premises operations, commercial automobile, property, products liability, and general and professional liability lines.

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