United Fire Group, Inc. (UFCS) Receives Average Rating of “Buy” from Analysts

Shares of United Fire Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:UFCS) have been given a consensus broker rating score of 2.00 (Buy) from the two brokers that cover the stock, Zacks Investment Research reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold recommendation and one has assigned a strong buy recommendation to the company.

Brokerages have set a one year consensus price objective of $48.00 for the company, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given United Fire Group an industry rank of 184 out of 265 based on the ratings given to related companies.

Several equities analysts recently issued reports on UFCS shares. Sandler O’Neill raised United Fire Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their target price for the company from $46.00 to $47.00 in a research report on Friday, September 22nd. BidaskClub downgraded United Fire Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 12th.

In other United Fire Group news, COO Michael J. Sheeley sold 3,850 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.04, for a total transaction of $184,954.00. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 9,529 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $457,773.16. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director James Noyce sold 1,323 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.31, for a total transaction of $63,914.13. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 10,828 shares in the company, valued at $523,100.68. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 11,481 shares of company stock worth $548,710 over the last ninety days. 5.83% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of UFCS. Flinton Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of United Fire Group by 80.0% during the 2nd quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 2,268 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $100,000 after acquiring an additional 1,008 shares in the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC purchased a new stake in shares of United Fire Group during the 3rd quarter worth about $163,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of United Fire Group by 17.7% during the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 4,170 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $184,000 after acquiring an additional 626 shares in the last quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of United Fire Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $204,000. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of United Fire Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $231,000. 58.37% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

United Fire Group (NASDAQ:UFCS) opened at $47.60 on Monday. United Fire Group has a 12-month low of $38.97 and a 12-month high of $50.75. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,184.19, a price-to-earnings ratio of 105.78 and a beta of 0.70.

United Fire Group (NASDAQ:UFCS) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The insurance provider reported ($0.73) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.14 by ($0.87). United Fire Group had a net margin of 1.49% and a return on equity of 1.32%. The firm had revenue of $269.55 million during the quarter.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 1st were given a dividend of $0.28 per share. This represents a $1.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.35%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 30th. United Fire Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 177.78%.

United Fire Group announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, November 8th that authorizes the company to buyback 2,240,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the insurance provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

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United Fire Group Company Profile

United Fire Group, Inc, formerly United Fire & Casualty Company, is engaged in the business of writing property and casualty insurance and life insurance and selling annuities. The Company operates in two segments: property and casualty insurance, and life insurance. The Company’s property and casualty insurance segment consists of commercial lines insurance, including surety bonds, personal lines insurance and assumed insurance.

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