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

United Fire Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:UFCS) has received a consensus broker rating score of 1.00 (Strong Buy) from the two analysts that cover the stock, Zacks Investment Research reports. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a strong buy recommendation. United Fire Group’s rating score has improved by 50% in the last 90 days as a result of various analysts’ ratings changes.

Brokers have set a 1-year consensus target price of $54.00 for the company, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given United Fire Group an industry rank of 38 out of 265 based on the ratings given to related companies.

A number of equities analysts recently issued reports on the company. BidaskClub cut United Fire Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 12th. ValuEngine cut United Fire Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Sidoti upgraded United Fire Group from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday.

Shares of United Fire Group (UFCS) traded up $1.18 during trading on Friday, hitting $45.46. The stock had a trading volume of 630,098 shares, compared to its average volume of 84,848. United Fire Group has a 12-month low of $38.95 and a 12-month high of $49.74. The stock has a market cap of $1,029.69, a PE ratio of 22.96 and a beta of 0.59.

United Fire Group (NASDAQ:UFCS) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 14th. The insurance provider reported $0.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.48 by $0.41. United Fire Group had a return on equity of 2.42% and a net margin of 4.58%. The company had revenue of $272.70 million during the quarter. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.46 EPS.

United Fire Group declared that its board has initiated a share buyback plan on Wednesday, November 8th that allows the company to buyback 2,240,000 shares. This buyback authorization allows the insurance provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other United Fire Group news, insider Michael T. Wilkins sold 3,771 shares of United Fire Group stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.24, for a total transaction of $178,142.04. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 37,704 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,781,136.96. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Neal R. Scharmer sold 2,537 shares of United Fire Group stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.97, for a total value of $121,699.89. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 17,473 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $838,179.81. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 11,481 shares of company stock valued at $548,710. 5.83% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in United Fire Group during the 2nd quarter valued at $204,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its position in United Fire Group by 13.7% during the 3rd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 271,804 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $12,454,000 after purchasing an additional 32,801 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its position in United Fire Group by 5.8% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 58,712 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $2,690,000 after purchasing an additional 3,212 shares in the last quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan raised its position in United Fire Group by 57.3% during the 3rd quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 8,040 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $368,000 after purchasing an additional 2,930 shares in the last quarter. Finally, TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC raised its position in United Fire Group by 15.0% during the 2nd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 101,630 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $4,478,000 after purchasing an additional 13,258 shares in the last quarter. 58.70% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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