BidaskClub lowered shares of State Auto Financial (NASDAQ:STFC) from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Thursday morning.

Several other research analysts also recently commented on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded State Auto Financial from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, September 6th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a hold rating and issued a $26.00 price objective on shares of State Auto Financial in a report on Friday, August 18th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. State Auto Financial presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $26.00.

State Auto Financial (STFC) traded up $1.04 on Thursday, hitting $29.81. The stock had a trading volume of 110,598 shares, compared to its average volume of 37,967. The company has a current ratio of 0.08, a quick ratio of 0.08 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.14. State Auto Financial has a 1 year low of $22.11 and a 1 year high of $29.92.

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

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 29th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 8th will be issued a $0.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 7th. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.34%. State Auto Financial’s dividend payout ratio is currently 61.54%.

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

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can bought a new stake in shares of State Auto Financial in the second quarter worth about $126,000. Voya Investment Management LLC grew its stake in shares of State Auto Financial by 21.9% in the second quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 9,076 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $234,000 after purchasing an additional 1,633 shares during the last quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bought a new stake in shares of State Auto Financial in the second quarter worth about $237,000. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its stake in shares of State Auto Financial by 6.6% in the second quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 13,644 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $351,000 after purchasing an additional 839 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Trust Advisors LP bought a new stake in shares of State Auto Financial in the second quarter worth about $389,000. 33.10% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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State Auto Financial Company Profile

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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