Mercury General Corporation (MCY) and Progressive Corporation (The) (NYSE:PGR) Critical Survey

Mercury General Corporation (NYSE: MCY) and Progressive Corporation (The) (NYSE:PGR) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, profitabiliy, valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, risk and dividends.

Profitability

This table compares Mercury General Corporation and Progressive Corporation (The)’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Mercury General Corporation 2.36% 5.57% 2.07%
Progressive Corporation (The) 5.50% 15.62% 3.78%

Risk & Volatility

Mercury General Corporation has a beta of 0.48, suggesting that its stock price is 52% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Progressive Corporation (The) has a beta of 0.85, suggesting that its stock price is 15% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Mercury General Corporation and Progressive Corporation (The), as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Mercury General Corporation 0 1 0 0 2.00
Progressive Corporation (The) 2 5 5 1 2.38

Mercury General Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $51.00, suggesting a potential downside of 6.93%. Progressive Corporation (The) has a consensus target price of $44.15, suggesting a potential downside of 5.61%. Given Progressive Corporation (The)’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Progressive Corporation (The) is more favorable than Mercury General Corporation.

Dividends

Mercury General Corporation pays an annual dividend of $2.49 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.5%. Progressive Corporation (The) pays an annual dividend of $0.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.5%. Mercury General Corporation pays out 179.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Progressive Corporation (The) pays out 28.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Mercury General Corporation has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years and Progressive Corporation (The) has increased its dividend for 31 consecutive years.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

46.3% of Mercury General Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 79.5% of Progressive Corporation (The) shares are held by institutional investors. 34.3% of Mercury General Corporation shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.6% of Progressive Corporation (The) shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Mercury General Corporation and Progressive Corporation (The)’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Mercury General Corporation $3.25 billion 0.93 $107.53 million $1.39 39.42
Progressive Corporation (The) $24.97 billion 1.09 $2.37 billion $2.36 19.82

Progressive Corporation (The) has higher revenue and earnings than Mercury General Corporation. Progressive Corporation (The) is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Mercury General Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Summary

Progressive Corporation (The) beats Mercury General Corporation on 15 of the 18 factors compared between the two stocks.

Mercury General Corporation Company Profile

Mercury General Corporation is an insurance holding company. As of December 31, 2016, the Company and its subsidiaries were engaged in writing personal automobile insurance through 14 insurance subsidiaries in 11 states, principally California. Its segments include Property and Casualty Lines, and Other Lines. Its Property and Casualty segment offers various insurance products to its individual customers and small business customers. Its Other segment offers automobile mechanical breakdown warranties, which are sold through automobile dealerships and credit unions. It also writes homeowners, commercial automobile, commercial property, mechanical breakdown and umbrella insurance. Its insurance policies are sold through independent agents. As of December 31, 2016, it sold its policies through approximately 9,700 independent agents, its owned insurance agencies, Auto Insurance Specialists LLC and PoliSeek AIS Insurance Solutions, Inc., and directly through Internet sales portals.

Progressive Corporation (The) Company Profile

The Progressive Corporation is an insurance holding company. The Company’s insurance subsidiaries and affiliates provide personal and commercial automobile and property insurance, other specialty property-casualty insurance and related services. The Company operates through the Personal Lines, Commercial Lines and Property segments. The Company’s Personal Lines segment writes insurance for personal autos, and recreational and other vehicles. The Commercial Lines business writes primary liability, physical damage and other auto-related insurance for automobiles and trucks owned and/or operated predominately by small businesses as a part of the commercial auto market. ASI is a homeowner carrier in the United States, which specializes in personal and commercial property insurance, personal umbrella insurance, and primary and excess flood insurance. The Company’s service business includes Commercial Auto Insurance Procedures/Plans (CAIP) and Commission-based businesses.

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