State Auto Financial (STFC) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Strong-Buy”

State Auto Financial (NASDAQ:STFC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report issued on Saturday. The firm currently has a $33.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 11.41% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “State Auto Financial Corporation is an insurance holding company, which engages, through its subsidiaries, primarily in the property and casualty insurance business. The company’s principal subsidiary is State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Company. State Auto P&C is a regional insurer engaged primarily in writing personal and commercial automobile, homeowners, commercial multi-peril, workers’ compensation and fire insurance. “

Separately, BidaskClub lowered State Auto Financial from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, January 5th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. State Auto Financial presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $29.50.

Shares of State Auto Financial (NASDAQ:STFC) traded up $0.95 on Friday, hitting $29.62. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 34,581 shares, compared to its average volume of 27,619. The company has a market capitalization of $1,211.78, a price-to-earnings ratio of 45.57 and a beta of 0.85. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.14, a quick ratio of 0.08 and a current ratio of 0.08. State Auto Financial has a 52-week low of $22.11 and a 52-week high of $30.85.

State Auto Financial (NASDAQ:STFC) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The insurance provider reported ($0.54) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.46) by ($0.08). The firm had revenue of $358.40 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $342.70 million. State Auto Financial had a net margin of 1.94% and a negative return on equity of 1.53%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 1.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.10 earnings per share. equities analysts forecast that State Auto Financial will post -0.32 EPS for the current year.

In related news, VP Matthew Stanley Mrozek sold 3,380 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.85, for a total transaction of $94,133.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 8,633 shares in the company, valued at approximately $240,429.05. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider John M. Petrucci sold 10,682 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $27.84, for a total value of $297,386.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.54% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of State Auto Financial by 1.1% during the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,542,424 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $65,418,000 after purchasing an additional 28,779 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in State Auto Financial by 5.8% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,252,287 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $32,222,000 after acquiring an additional 68,665 shares during the last quarter. Earnest Partners LLC increased its stake in State Auto Financial by 2.4% in the 3rd quarter. Earnest Partners LLC now owns 780,544 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $20,474,000 after acquiring an additional 18,219 shares during the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its stake in State Auto Financial by 21.9% in the 2nd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 529,239 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $13,617,000 after acquiring an additional 95,076 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. increased its stake in State Auto Financial by 15.1% in the 3rd quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. now owns 430,341 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $11,288,000 after acquiring an additional 56,554 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 33.10% of the company’s stock.

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About State Auto Financial

State Auto Financial Corporation is a property and casualty insurance holding company. The Company is engaged in writing personal, business and specialty insurance. Its segments include Personal Insurance Segment, Commercial Insurance Segment and Specialty Insurance Segment. Its Personal Insurance Segment include personal auto, homeowners and other personal; Commercial Insurance Segment include commercial auto, small commercial package, middle market commercial, workers’ compensation and other commercial, and Specialty Insurance Segment include Excess & Surplus (E&S) property, E&S casualty and programs.

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