State Auto Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STFC) Short Interest Up 20.7% in August

State Auto Financial Corp (NASDAQ:STFC) was the target of a significant increase in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 329,100 shares, an increase of 20.7% from the July 31st total of 272,700 shares. Currently, 1.9% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 55,500 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.9 days.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on STFC shares. TheStreet downgraded shares of State Auto Financial from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Friday, August 23rd. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of State Auto Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 18th. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded shares of State Auto Financial from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 30th.

Shares of STFC traded down $0.09 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $33.23. The stock had a trading volume of 44,546 shares, compared to its average volume of 32,106. The firm has a 50 day simple moving average of $32.81 and a 200-day simple moving average of $33.77. State Auto Financial has a one year low of $28.46 and a one year high of $36.45. The firm has a market cap of $1.41 billion, a PE ratio of 27.69 and a beta of 0.34. The company has a current ratio of 0.05, a quick ratio of 0.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.13.

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

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 27th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.10 per share. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.20%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 16th. State Auto Financial’s dividend payout ratio is presently 33.33%.

In other State Auto Financial news, Director Michelle Lantow bought 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 6th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $31.03 per share, with a total value of $31,030.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 1,000 shares in the company, valued at $31,030. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 1.83% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Swiss National Bank raised its stake in State Auto Financial by 2.9% in the 2nd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 32,300 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,131,000 after purchasing an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in State Auto Financial in the 2nd quarter worth about $120,000. Strs Ohio raised its stake in State Auto Financial by 4.2% in the 2nd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 19,700 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $689,000 after purchasing an additional 800 shares in the last quarter. KBC Group NV acquired a new stake in State Auto Financial in the 2nd quarter worth about $83,000. Finally, SG Americas Securities LLC acquired a new stake in State Auto Financial in the 1st quarter worth about $107,000. Institutional investors own 33.40% of the company’s stock.

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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