Mercury General Co. (NYSE:MCY) Sees Large Increase in Short Interest

Mercury General Co. (NYSE:MCY) saw a significant growth in short interest in the month of January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 670,300 shares, a growth of 16.2% from the January 15th total of 577,000 shares. Approximately 2.5% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 234,400 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.9 days.

MCY traded up $0.62 on Friday, reaching $51.80. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 359,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 296,135. The stock has a market cap of $2.97 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.98, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.44 and a beta of 0.22. Mercury General has a 1 year low of $46.69 and a 1 year high of $65.22. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21, a current ratio of 0.45 and a quick ratio of 0.45. The business’s 50 day moving average is $48.76 and its 200 day moving average is $51.45.

Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 10th. The insurance provider reported $0.21 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.18 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $896.10 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $884.63 million. Mercury General had a return on equity of 8.17% and a net margin of 8.06%. Mercury General’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted ($0.26) earnings per share. As a group, research analysts forecast that Mercury General will post 3.45 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, March 31st. Investors of record on Tuesday, March 17th will be issued a $0.63 dividend. This represents a $2.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.86%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 16th. Mercury General’s dividend payout ratio is currently 96.92%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Point72 Hong Kong Ltd raised its position in shares of Mercury General by 279.2% during the 4th quarter. Point72 Hong Kong Ltd now owns 1,498 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $73,000 after purchasing an additional 1,103 shares during the period. Point72 Asset Management L.P. raised its position in shares of Mercury General by 130.5% during the 4th quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 21,900 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,067,000 after purchasing an additional 12,400 shares during the period. AQR Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Mercury General by 56.9% during the 4th quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 673,271 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $32,808,000 after purchasing an additional 244,168 shares during the period. Schonfeld Strategic Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Mercury General during the 4th quarter worth approximately $449,000. Finally, Ancora Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Mercury General during the 4th quarter worth approximately $34,000. 41.91% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several equities research analysts have recently weighed in on MCY shares. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods downgraded Mercury General from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $50.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Monday, October 28th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Mercury General from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Thursday.

Mercury General Company Profile

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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