Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $71.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Mercury General Corp. is engaged primarily in writing all risk classifications of automobile insurance in a number of states, principally California. The company offers automobile policyholders the following types of coverage: bodily injury liability, underinsured and uninsured motorist, property damage liability, comprehensive, collision and other hazards specified in the policy. “

Several other research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. ValuEngine raised shares of USINAS SIDERURG/S from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 29th. TheStreet lowered shares of UDR from a b rating to a c rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 30th.

Shares of MCY opened at $63.13 on Friday. Mercury General has a 52-week low of $43.63 and a 52-week high of $65.22. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.22, a quick ratio of 0.43 and a current ratio of 0.43. The business’s fifty day simple moving average is $61.63. The firm has a market cap of $3.49 billion, a PE ratio of 35.07, a PEG ratio of 0.47 and a beta of 0.24.

Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) last announced its earnings results on Monday, April 29th. The insurance provider reported $0.87 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.77 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $919.50 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $917.25 million. Mercury General had a net margin of 4.78% and a return on equity of 8.50%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.07 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Mercury General will post 3.55 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, June 27th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, June 13th were paid a dividend of $0.6275 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, June 12th. This is a positive change from Mercury General’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.63. This represents a $2.51 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.98%. Mercury General’s dividend payout ratio is 139.44%.

In other Mercury General news, VP Charles Toney sold 600 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.45, for a total transaction of $36,270.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 11,803 shares in the company, valued at $713,491.35. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 34.20% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Meeder Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in Mercury General in the first quarter valued at approximately $59,000. NEXT Financial Group Inc acquired a new position in Mercury General in the second quarter valued at approximately $73,000. Advisor Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Mercury General by 28.3% in the fourth quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 1,594 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $83,000 after purchasing an additional 352 shares in the last quarter. Cambria Investment Management L.P. acquired a new position in Mercury General in the first quarter valued at approximately $134,000. Finally, Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in Mercury General by 25.7% in the first quarter. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC now owns 3,055 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $152,000 after purchasing an additional 624 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 43.64% of the company’s stock.

About Mercury General

Mercury General Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal automobile insurance in the United States. The company also writes homeowners, commercial automobile, commercial property, mechanical protection, fire, and umbrella insurance. Its automobile insurance products cover collision, property damage, bodily injury, comprehensive, personal injury protection, underinsured and uninsured motorist, and other hazards; and homeowners' insurance products cover dwelling, liability, personal property, fire, and other hazards.

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