United Fire Group (NASDAQ:UFCS) was downgraded by stock analysts at BidaskClub from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.

Separately, Sandler O’Neill upgraded United Fire Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $46.00 to $47.00 in a research report on Friday, September 22nd.

United Fire Group (UFCS) traded down $0.53 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $46.11. The company had a trading volume of 49,900 shares, compared to its average volume of 67,566. United Fire Group has a 12 month low of $38.97 and a 12 month high of $50.75. The company has a market cap of $1,160.29, a price-to-earnings ratio of 103.64 and a beta of 0.70.

United Fire Group (NASDAQ:UFCS) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The insurance provider reported ($0.73) EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.14 by ($0.87). United Fire Group had a return on equity of 1.32% and a net margin of 1.49%. The business had revenue of $269.55 million for the quarter.

United Fire Group declared that its board has initiated a share repurchase program on Wednesday, November 8th that permits the company to repurchase 2,240,000 shares. This repurchase authorization permits the insurance provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, insider Michael T. Wilkins sold 3,771 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.24, for a total value of $178,142.04. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 37,704 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,781,136.96. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Neal R. Scharmer sold 2,537 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.97, for a total value of $121,699.89. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 17,473 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $838,179.81. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 11,481 shares of company stock valued at $548,710 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 5.83% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of UFCS. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of United Fire Group by 1.5% in the 1st quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 36,485 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,560,000 after purchasing an additional 531 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its stake in shares of United Fire Group by 29.6% in the 1st quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 55,600 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $2,378,000 after acquiring an additional 12,700 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of United Fire Group by 19.1% in the 1st quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 94,185 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $4,029,000 after acquiring an additional 15,134 shares during the last quarter. Aperio Group LLC lifted its stake in shares of United Fire Group by 11.1% in the 2nd quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 11,104 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $489,000 after acquiring an additional 1,109 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Russell Investments Group Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of United Fire Group by 3.2% in the 2nd quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 16,665 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $734,000 after acquiring an additional 520 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 58.37% of the company’s stock.

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About United Fire Group

United Fire Group, Inc, formerly United Fire & Casualty Company, is engaged in the business of writing property and casualty insurance and life insurance and selling annuities. The Company operates in two segments: property and casualty insurance, and life insurance. The Company’s property and casualty insurance segment consists of commercial lines insurance, including surety bonds, personal lines insurance and assumed insurance.

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