Selective Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SIGI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Selective Insurance have outperformed the industry in a year's time. The company is poised for top-line growth riding on high retention ratio, pure renewal price increases and new business growth. Backed by a rising interest rate environment, the company projects after-tax net investment income of $175 million for 2019. Geographic expansion plays a vital role when it comes to growth and diversification. The company also remains committed to adding shareholder value via effective capital deployment. However, exposure to cat loss poses an inherent risk to the P&C business, rendering volatility to the company’s earnings. Rising expenses remain a concern as it might restrict the operating margin expansion.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on SIGI. Credit Suisse Group upped their target price on shares of Selective Insurance Group from $54.00 to $61.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. JMP Securities assumed coverage on shares of Selective Insurance Group in a research report on Friday, November 16th. They set a “market perform” rating on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Selective Insurance Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, October 29th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Selective Insurance Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 21st. Finally, Buckingham Research assumed coverage on shares of Selective Insurance Group in a research report on Friday, December 14th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $62.00 target price on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $63.75.

Shares of NASDAQ SIGI opened at $64.38 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25, a quick ratio of 0.33 and a current ratio of 0.31. Selective Insurance Group has a 12-month low of $53.55 and a 12-month high of $67.17. The stock has a market cap of $3.78 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.59, a P/E/G ratio of 1.20 and a beta of 0.90.

Selective Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SIGI) last released its earnings results on Thursday, January 31st. The insurance provider reported $1.20 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.26. Selective Insurance Group had a net margin of 6.92% and a return on equity of 12.69%. The company had revenue of $680.90 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $661.70 million. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that Selective Insurance Group will post 4.2 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Paul D. Bauer sold 2,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.40, for a total value of $161,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 2.00% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC increased its stake in shares of Selective Insurance Group by 4.1% in the 4th quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 4,636 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $283,000 after acquiring an additional 184 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue increased its stake in shares of Selective Insurance Group by 1.8% in the 4th quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 19,690 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,199,000 after acquiring an additional 340 shares during the last quarter. Private Capital Group LLC increased its stake in shares of Selective Insurance Group by 55.5% in the 4th quarter. Private Capital Group LLC now owns 1,056 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $64,000 after acquiring an additional 377 shares during the last quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Selective Insurance Group by 3.4% in the 4th quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 13,998 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $853,000 after acquiring an additional 454 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Comerica Bank increased its stake in shares of Selective Insurance Group by 1.0% in the 4th quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 57,861 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $3,440,000 after acquiring an additional 571 shares during the last quarter. 79.94% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Selective Insurance Group

Selective Insurance Group, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, provides insurance products and services in the United States. It operates in four segments: Standard Commercial Lines, Standard Personal Lines, Excess and Surplus (E&S) Lines, and Investments. The company's products and services include property insurance, which covers the financial consequences of accidental loss of an insured's real and/or personal property; and casualty insurance that covers the financial consequences of employee injuries in the course of employment, and bodily injury and/or property damage to a third party as a result of an insured's negligent acts, omissions, or legal liabilities.

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