Old Republic International Co. (NYSE:ORI) sees sharp drop in short-term interest

Old Republic International Co. (NYSE: ORI – Get a rating) benefited from a sharp fall in short-term interest rates during the month of February. As of February 15, there was short interest totaling 2,580,000 shares, down 23.9% from the total of 3,390,000 shares as of January 31. Currently, 0.9% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 1,620,000 shares, the day-to-cover ratio is currently 1.6 days.

Shares of NYSE ORI opened at $26.40 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.20, a quick ratio of 0.56 and a debt ratio of 0.23. The company has a market capitalization of $8.11 billion, a PE ratio of 5.20 and a beta of 0.81. Old Republic International has a 1-year minimum of $20.17 and a 1-year maximum of $27.19. The company’s 50-day moving average is $25.66 and its 200-day moving average is $25.10.

Old Republic International (NYSE: ORI – Get a rating) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 27. The insurance provider reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.88 for the quarter, beating Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.15. Old Republic International had a return on equity of 14.17% and a net margin of 16.42%. In the same period a year earlier, the company had earned earnings per share of $0.75. As a group, equity research analysts expect Old Republic International to post earnings per share of 2.8 for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, March 15. Investors of record on Monday, March 7 will receive a dividend of $0.23. The ex-dividend date is Friday, March 4. This is a boost from Old Republic International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. This represents an annualized dividend of $0.92 and a yield of 3.48%. Old Republic International’s dividend payout ratio is currently 17.32%.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Old Republic International from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $29.00 price target for the company in a Wednesday, Feb. 2 research note.

In related news, the director Michel Denard Kennedy bought 1,830 shares of the company in a transaction that took place on Wednesday, December 8. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $24.67 per share, for a total transaction of $45,146.10. The purchase was disclosed in an SEC filing, which is available via this hyperlink. During the last quarter, insiders purchased 2,420 shares of the company valued at $60,433. Company insiders own 1.90% of the company’s shares.

Hedge funds have recently changed their positions in the stock. Dumont & Blake Investment Advisors LLC increased its holdings of Old Republic International shares by 0.8% during the third quarter. Dumont & Blake Investment Advisors LLC now owns 58,780 shares of the insurance provider worth $1,360,000 after buying 485 additional shares last quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors increased its holdings of Old Republic International shares by 130.4% during the third quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 105,859 shares of the insurance provider worth $2,607,000 after buying an additional 59,907 shares last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its holdings of Old Republic International shares by 3.8% during the third quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,056,300 shares of the insurance provider worth $24,432,000 after buying 38,792 additional shares last quarter. Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services LLC purchased a new position in shares of Old Republic International during Q3 for a value of approximately $1,265,000. Finally, Sawtooth Solutions LLC purchased a new position in shares of Old Republic International during Q2 for a value of approximately $298,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds hold 71.67% of the company’s shares.

Old Republic International Company Profile (Get a rating)

Old Republic International Corp. is a holding company engaged in the insurance underwriting business. It operates through the following segments: General Insurance, Title Insurance and Republic Financial Indemnity Group (RFIG) run-off business. The General Insurance segment offers property and liability insurance to commercial customers.

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