Mercury General Corporation Stock Downgraded (MCY)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Mercury General Corporation (NYSE: MCY) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, weak operating cash flow and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MCY's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.08 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • MCY, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 109.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $57.25 million to -$5.26 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $14.70 million or 74.43% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

Mercury General Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal automobile insurance products. The company also writes homeowners, commercial automobile and property, mechanical breakdown, fire, and umbrella insurance products. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.5, above the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 14.1 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Mercury General has a market cap of $2.02 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are down 16.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full Mercury General Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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