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Broker downgrade: Here’s why the QBE share price tanked today

The QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) share price sunk 3.6% to $11.88 today despite the global insurance business releasing no specific news to the market. Unfortunately for investors it seems some are heading for the exits after Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) downgraded its rating on QBE to ‘neutral’.

QBE is quite a heavily traded stock by daily volumes so only the view of a powerful sell-side brokerage like Macquarie could conspire to send the company’s valuation markedly lower.

QBE is also often labelled a ‘turnaround’ story by investors due to its history of blow ups and write downs overseas after it pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy that failed to pay off for investors. In fact the QBE share price is yet to pass levels it traded at for several years before the GFC in 2008/09.

Its new chief executive plans to continue simplifying the business, improve operational efficiencies, and sell off loss-making portfolios or underperforming businesses around the world.

In 2018 it made a cash profit after tax of $715 million.

Others competing for market share in the large-cap insurance sector include Insurance Australia Group Ltd (ASX: IAG) and Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN).

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Insurance Australia Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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