Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STFC) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Friday.

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. “

STFC has been the topic of several other reports. TheStreet lowered State Auto Financial Corporation from a b rating to a c+ rating in a report on Monday, May 22nd. ValuEngine upgraded State Auto Financial Corporation from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. BidaskClub lowered State Auto Financial Corporation from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Sunday, July 16th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a hold rating and set a $26.00 target price on shares of State Auto Financial Corporation in a report on Friday, August 18th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a hold rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $26.00.

Shares of State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ STFC) opened at 24.47 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $1.03 billion, a PE ratio of 22.06 and a beta of 0.90. State Auto Financial Corporation has a 52-week low of $19.54 and a 52-week high of $27.97. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $24.92 and its 200-day moving average price is $25.82.

State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STFC) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The insurance provider reported ($0.04) earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.16) by $0.12. The firm had revenue of $339.90 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $341.30 million. State Auto Financial Corporation had a return on equity of 1.46% and a net margin of 3.33%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted ($0.69) earnings per share. Analysts expect that State Auto Financial Corporation will post $0.39 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 29th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, September 13th will be issued a $0.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 12th. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.63%. State Auto Financial Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 35.71%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Norges Bank bought a new stake in State Auto Financial Corporation during the fourth quarter worth about $5,765,000. Nationwide Fund Advisors increased its stake in State Auto Financial Corporation by 3.1% in the first quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 14,509 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $398,000 after buying an additional 435 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in State Auto Financial Corporation by 0.6% in the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 103,058 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $2,829,000 after buying an additional 594 shares in the last quarter. Boston Partners increased its stake in State Auto Financial Corporation by 2.3% in the first quarter. Boston Partners now owns 109,266 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $2,999,000 after buying an additional 2,423 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in State Auto Financial Corporation by 4.1% in the first quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 112,892 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $3,099,000 after buying an additional 4,490 shares in the last quarter. 32.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About State Auto Financial Corporation

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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