Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of RLI (NYSE:RLI) from a sell rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $72.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of RLI Corp have underperformed the industry in a year. Exposure to catastrophe loss and escalating expenses raise concerns. RLI Corp. is one of the industry’s most profitable P&C writers with an impressive track record of underwriting profits in 37 of the past 41 years (particularly the last 22 years). Its ability to consistently increase dividend, maintain combined ratios at favorable levels as well as boast a solid capital position are other positives. Continuous strategic investments to fortify Casualty segment bode well. It also remains focused on strengthening its underwriting results and has decided to drop the underperforming products from the property business. But, exposure catastrophe loss and escalating expenses raise concerns. Shares of RLI Corp have underperformed the industry in a year’s time. A Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes prediction difficult on earnings release on Apr 18.”

Shares of RLI stock opened at $63.61 on Tuesday. RLI has a 52 week low of $50.34 and a 52 week high of $65.68. The company has a current ratio of 0.35, a quick ratio of 0.35 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.17. The firm has a market capitalization of $2,829.90, a PE ratio of 39.51 and a beta of 1.23.

RLI (NYSE:RLI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, January 24th. The insurance provider reported $0.51 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.48 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $202.74 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $197.85 million. RLI had a net margin of 12.39% and a return on equity of 9.00%. equities analysts expect that RLI will post 2.17 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, Director Michael J. Stone sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.36, for a total transaction of $326,800.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 9,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $588,240. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Aaron Paul Diefenthaler sold 900 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.77, for a total transaction of $58,293.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 6,913 shares of company stock valued at $447,413. Company insiders own 6.09% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB acquired a new stake in RLI during the 4th quarter valued at $232,000. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in RLI during the 4th quarter valued at $1,016,000. BB&T Securities LLC grew its holdings in RLI by 6.9% during the 4th quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 18,972 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,150,000 after purchasing an additional 1,219 shares in the last quarter. Vident Investment Advisory LLC acquired a new stake in RLI during the 4th quarter valued at $214,000. Finally, Verition Fund Management LLC acquired a new stake in RLI during the 4th quarter valued at $280,000. 87.04% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About RLI

RLI Corp. is a specialty insurance company. The Company underwrites selected property and casualty insurance through subsidiaries, as well as offers insurance coverages in both the specialty admitted, and excess and surplus markets. It operates through Casualty, Property and Surety segments. Its Casualty segment consists of commercial and personal umbrella, general liability, commercial transportation, professional services, small commercial, executive products, medical professional liability and other casualty businesses.

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