State Auto Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STFC) Sees Large Decline in Short Interest

State Auto Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STFC) saw a large drop in short interest during the month of July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 272,700 shares, a drop of 18.6% from the June 30th total of 335,100 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 58,800 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 4.6 days. Approximately 1.6% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on STFC. Zacks Investment Research lowered State Auto Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 18th. BidaskClub lowered State Auto Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 30th.

In other State Auto Financial news, Director Michelle Lantow purchased 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 6th. The shares were bought at an average price of $31.03 per share, for a total transaction of $31,030.00. Following the purchase, the director now owns 1,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $31,030. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 1.83% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Quantamental Technologies LLC bought a new stake in shares of State Auto Financial in the 2nd quarter valued at about $25,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank grew its position in shares of State Auto Financial by 109.7% in the 1st quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 998 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $33,000 after buying an additional 522 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new stake in shares of State Auto Financial in the 2nd quarter valued at about $51,000. KBC Group NV bought a new stake in shares of State Auto Financial in the 2nd quarter valued at about $83,000. Finally, SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new stake in shares of State Auto Financial in the 1st quarter valued at about $107,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 33.59% of the company’s stock.

STFC stock traded up $0.18 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $32.75. 35,900 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 49,761. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.43 billion, a PE ratio of 27.29 and a beta of 0.31. State Auto Financial has a 52 week low of $28.46 and a 52 week high of $36.45. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.13, a current ratio of 0.05 and a quick ratio of 0.05. The company has a fifty day moving average price of $34.48 and a 200 day moving average price of $34.02.

State Auto Financial (NASDAQ:STFC) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 1st. The insurance provider reported ($0.33) earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.05 by ($0.38). The firm had revenue of $340.10 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $340.10 million. State Auto Financial had a return on equity of 5.49% and a net margin of 3.95%. The company’s revenue was down .5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned ($0.08) EPS. As a group, analysts anticipate that State Auto Financial will post 1.35 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 27th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 17th will be given a dividend of $0.10 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 16th. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.22%. State Auto Financial’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.33%.

About State Auto Financial

State Auto Financial Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal and business insurance products. It operates through four segments: Personal Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Specialty Insurance, and Investment Operations. The Personal Insurance segment primarily provides personal automobile, homeowners insurance, and other personal insurance products.

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