XL Group Reaches 4-Month High After Upgrade From Barclays

XL Group Plc, the insurer and reinsurer, reached a four-month high as Barclays Plc upgraded the company, citing increased rates and stabilizing markets.

XL rose $1.21, or 5.6 percent, to $22.75 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Earlier, the Dublin-based company reached $22.77, its highest since June 2.

“XL’s P&C business has stabilized and its capital position is strengthening,” Jay Gelb, a Barclays analyst, said today in a note. “The company’s reserve position is strong, meaningful share buybacks could continue, and the valuation is attractive.” Barclays boosted its stock rating on XL to overweight from equal weight.

The first six months of 2011 had the most catastrophe losses in a decade, according to a statement from ISO, a unit of Verisk Analytics Inc. That has prompted insurers to raise rates, said consulting firm Towers Watson & Co. in a statement. Prices for all standard lines of coverage increased this year, the first time that has happened since 2003, Towers said.

Barclays also upgraded insurance brokers Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Brown & Brown Inc., Marsh & McLennan Cos. and Willis Group Holdings Plc.

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