State Auto Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STFC) Short Interest Down 40.8% in October

State Auto Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STFC) was the target of a significant drop in short interest in October. As of October 15th, there was short interest totalling 581,850 shares, a drop of 40.8% from the September 28th total of 982,495 shares. Approximately 3.5% of the shares of the stock are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 26,944 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 21.6 days.

STFC stock traded down $0.26 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $33.15. 18,307 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 34,221. The stock has a market cap of $1.44 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of -82.88 and a beta of 0.63. State Auto Financial has a 1-year low of $25.92 and a 1-year high of $34.31. The company has a quick ratio of 0.05, a current ratio of 0.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.14.

State Auto Financial (NASDAQ:STFC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 1st. The insurance provider reported $0.44 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.27 by $0.17. State Auto Financial had a return on equity of 4.62% and a net margin of 2.29%. The company had revenue of $346.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $325.60 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned ($0.54) EPS. State Auto Financial’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.5% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that State Auto Financial will post 1.15 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 28th. Investors of record on Friday, December 7th will be given a $0.10 dividend. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.21%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 6th. State Auto Financial’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently -100.00%.

A number of brokerages recently commented on STFC. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $30.00 price objective on State Auto Financial and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 6th. BidaskClub upgraded State Auto Financial from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, October 12th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded State Auto Financial from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 13th.

In other news, insider Steven Eugene English sold 3,633 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $34.00, for a total value of $123,522.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 39,148 shares in the company, valued at $1,331,032. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 1.54% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. SG Americas Securities LLC acquired a new position in State Auto Financial in the 2nd quarter valued at about $101,000. Lincoln National Corp acquired a new position in State Auto Financial during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $205,000. Legal & General Group Plc increased its position in State Auto Financial by 60.2% during the 1st quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 6,913 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $197,000 after purchasing an additional 2,599 shares during the period. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC increased its position in State Auto Financial by 52.4% during the 3rd quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC now owns 12,098 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $369,000 after purchasing an additional 4,158 shares during the period. Finally, Keybank National Association OH increased its position in State Auto Financial by 30.9% during the 2nd quarter. Keybank National Association OH now owns 21,475 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $642,000 after purchasing an additional 5,075 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 35.82% of the company’s stock.

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About State Auto Financial

State Auto Financial Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal, business, and specialty 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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