Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE:BRO) was the target of a large growth in short interest in the month of December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 4,980,000 shares, a growth of 6.6% from the December 15th total of 4,670,000 shares. Approximately 2.1% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,770,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.8 days.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on BRO shares. Morgan Stanley upgraded Brown & Brown from an “underweight” rating to an “equal” rating and set a $38.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Thursday, December 5th. Raymond James upped their price objective on Brown & Brown from $38.00 to $39.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 14th. ValuEngine cut Brown & Brown from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 2nd. Barclays upped their price objective on Brown & Brown from $28.00 to $30.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 2nd. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a “buy” rating and set a $46.00 price objective on shares of Brown & Brown in a research note on Wednesday. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. Brown & Brown presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $36.20.

In related news, EVP Jerome Scott Penny sold 30,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.47, for a total transaction of $1,184,100.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 16.69% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Point72 Asset Management L.P. acquired a new position in Brown & Brown during the 3rd quarter valued at about $9,718,000. NEXT Financial Group Inc acquired a new position in Brown & Brown during the 3rd quarter valued at about $150,000. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its position in Brown & Brown by 18.7% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 644,928 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $23,256,000 after buying an additional 101,767 shares in the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP increased its position in Brown & Brown by 237.7% during the 3rd quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 617,317 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $22,260,000 after buying an additional 434,501 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Keybank National Association OH increased its position in Brown & Brown by 47.6% during the 3rd quarter. Keybank National Association OH now owns 55,398 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,998,000 after buying an additional 17,878 shares in the last quarter. 70.18% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE BRO traded up $0.38 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $40.59. 1,278,483 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,525,698. The company has a quick ratio of 0.97, a current ratio of 0.97 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46. The stock has a market cap of $11.36 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.00, a P/E/G ratio of 2.67 and a beta of 0.69. Brown & Brown has a 1 year low of $26.23 and a 1 year high of $40.69. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $39.08 and a 200 day moving average of $36.88.

Brown & Brown (NYSE:BRO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Monday, October 28th. The financial services provider reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.39. The firm had revenue of $618.70 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $610.36 million. Brown & Brown had a return on equity of 12.39% and a net margin of 17.04%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 16.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.38 EPS. On average, equities analysts forecast that Brown & Brown will post 1.39 earnings per share for the current year.

Brown & Brown Company Profile

Brown & Brown, Inc markets and sells insurance products and services in the United States, England, Canada, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. It operates through four segments: Retail, National Programs, Wholesale Brokerage, and Services. The Retail segment offers commercial packages, group medical, workers' compensation, property risk, and general liability insurance products; and group and individual life, accident, disability, health, hospitalization, medical, dental, and other ancillary insurance products, as well as risk management, loss control survey and analysis, consultancy, and claims processing services.

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