Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of State Auto Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:STFC) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday.

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, TheStreet raised shares of State Auto Financial Corp. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 19th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $26.00.

Shares of State Auto Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:STFC) traded up 2.04% during trading on Thursday, reaching $22.99. 11,692 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $958.13 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 433.77 and a beta of 0.70. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $23.29 and its 200 day moving average is $22.01. State Auto Financial Corp. has a 1-year low of $17.84 and a 1-year high of $25.69.

State Auto Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:STFC) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 4th. The company reported $0.59 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.08 by $0.51. The firm earned $345.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $332.60 million. State Auto Financial Corp. had a net margin of 0.16% and a negative return on equity of 1.42%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.06 earnings per share. Equities analysts anticipate that State Auto Financial Corp. will post $0.17 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Wednesday, September 14th were given a dividend of $0.10 per share. The ex-dividend date was Monday, September 12th. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.78%. State Auto Financial Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is 800.00%.

In related news, insider Kim Burton Garland bought 6,356 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 2nd. The stock was purchased at an average price of $23.63 per share, for a total transaction of $150,192.28. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 1.56% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of STFC. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of State Auto Financial Corp. by 1.5% in the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,443,341 shares of the company’s stock worth $53,533,000 after buying an additional 34,960 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in State Auto Financial Corp. by 3.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,005,084 shares of the company’s stock valued at $22,021,000 after buying an additional 35,122 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its position in State Auto Financial Corp. by 49.0% in the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 439,949 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,639,000 after buying an additional 144,762 shares during the period. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its position in State Auto Financial Corp. by 4.2% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 363,722 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,969,000 after buying an additional 14,699 shares during the period. Finally, Capital Returns Management LLC raised its position in State Auto Financial Corp. by 1.5% in the first quarter. Capital Returns Management LLC now owns 209,461 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,621,000 after buying an additional 3,100 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 30.34% of the company’s stock.

State Auto Financial Corp. Company Profile

State Auto Financial Corporation (State Auto Financial) is a property and casualty insurance holding company. The Company is engaged in writing personal, business and specialty insurance. Its segments include personal insurance, business insurance, specialty insurance and investment operations. Its personal insurance, business insurance and specialty insurance are known as insurance segments of the Company.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:STFC

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