Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

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. “

Other research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. TheStreet cut shares of UDR from a b rating to a c rating in a report on Tuesday, April 30th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of USINAS SIDERURG/S from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 29th.

Shares of Mercury General stock traded up $0.13 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $63.85. The company had a trading volume of 212,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 357,486. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $60.52. Mercury General has a twelve month low of $43.46 and a twelve month 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 firm has a market cap of $3.59 billion, a P/E ratio of 35.47, a P/E/G ratio of 0.48 and a beta of 0.24.

Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) last issued its earnings results on Monday, April 29th. The insurance provider reported $0.87 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.77 by $0.10. Mercury General had a net margin of 4.78% and a return on equity of 8.50%. The business had revenue of $919.50 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $917.25 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.07 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.8% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Mercury General will post 3.55 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, June 27th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 13th were given a $0.6275 dividend. This is an increase from Mercury General’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.63. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, June 12th. This represents a $2.51 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.93%. Mercury General’s dividend payout ratio is 139.44%.

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

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MCY. WINTON GROUP Ltd purchased a new position in shares of Mercury General during the 2nd quarter worth about $435,000. Foundations Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Mercury General by 22.1% during the second quarter. Foundations Investment Advisors LLC now owns 27,070 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,731,000 after purchasing an additional 4,900 shares during the period. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Mercury General by 27.2% during the first quarter. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. now owns 974,440 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $48,790,000 after purchasing an additional 208,274 shares during the period. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. purchased a new stake in shares of Mercury General during the first quarter valued at approximately $43,981,000. Finally, GAM Holding AG raised its stake in shares of Mercury General by 57.9% during the first quarter. GAM Holding AG now owns 15,943 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $798,000 after purchasing an additional 5,848 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 43.62% 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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