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Markel is a big insurance underwriter, and a lot of folks think of them as a junior Berkshire Hathaway (not unlike White Mountains). Like Berkshire (and Google and others) they haven't split the shares so the stock price is up north of $330 at the moment. And this week, Markel is one of the few companies I'm watching that isn't dropping like a stone.

Markel had a tough 2005 business-wise, as did all the big insurers with hurricane exposure. It now seems like it might be a reasonable time to re-purchase a MKL position for my portfolio given the firming prices for P&C insurance and Markel's excellent investment performance. I owned MKL for a while, selling back in 2004 at a small loss when they weren't doing very well, but they're looking appealing again.

Like BRK, they have a large cash hoard (though much smaller than Warren's, of course) and have some solid float performance that gives them free money with which to invest. This would be a nice counterpoint to much of my portolio, given that MKL focuses on value investing in equities with their float. 2006 is expected by analysts to be a very solid year for MKL, giving them a forward estimated PE of about 12 ... if I can have faith in those numbers, I think now is a good time to pick up some MKL holdings that I can stash in a retirement account and hopefully ignore for a good many years.


MKL 1-yr Chart

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Source: Markel Looks Like Berkshire Hathaway Junior (MKL)