Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Torchmark Co. (TMK) to “Hold”

Torchmark Co. (NYSE:TMK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Torchmark’s niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth and thus drive shares higher. Torchmark estimates life and health sales growth in distribution channels. Also, a strong capital position and robust capital management are key positives. Torchmark expects net operating income between $4.57 and $4.77 in 2017. However, higher administrative expenses, pension costs and investments in IT systems will likely be a drag on Torchmark’s earnings in the near term. Also, shares of Torchmark underperformed the Zacks categorized Life Insurance industry, year to date.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Evercore ISI downgraded shares of Torchmark from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $70.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, January 11th. Barclays PLC restated a “sell” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Torchmark in a research report on Monday, January 9th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted their price target on shares of Torchmark from $60.00 to $69.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, January 23rd. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have issued a hold rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Sell” and a consensus price target of $66.13.

Analyst Recommendations for Torchmark (NYSE:TMK)

Shares of Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) remained flat at $76.26 on Friday. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 134,913 shares. Torchmark has a one year low of $53.17 and a one year high of $79.53. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $77.46 and a 200-day moving average of $71.75. The company has a market cap of $8.98 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.97 and a beta of 0.99.

Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 1st. The company reported $1.16 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.13 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $975 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $989.40 million. Torchmark had a net margin of 13.95% and a return on equity of 11.52%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.05 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Torchmark will post $4.69 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 3rd will be given a $0.15 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 30th. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.79%. This is an increase from Torchmark’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. Torchmark’s payout ratio is 12.42%.

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In other news, insider Steven John Dichiaro sold 15,000 shares of Torchmark stock in a transaction on Friday, February 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.34, for a total value of $1,160,100.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 23,360 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,806,662.40. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Michael Shane Henrie sold 8,437 shares of Torchmark stock in a transaction on Friday, February 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.41, for a total transaction of $627,797.17. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 1,687 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $125,529.67. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 116,028 shares of company stock worth $8,844,204 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 3.96% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in TMK. Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd. bought a new stake in Torchmark during the first quarter valued at $1,263,000. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. raised its stake in Torchmark by 2.2% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 101,720 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,836,000 after buying an additional 2,202 shares in the last quarter. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund bought a new stake in Torchmark during the fourth quarter valued at $264,000. Kentucky Retirement Systems bought a new stake in Torchmark during the fourth quarter valued at $591,000. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC raised its stake in Torchmark by 5.5% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 146,733 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,823,000 after buying an additional 7,712 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 73.68% of the company’s stock.

Torchmark Company Profile

Torchmark Corporation (Torchmark) is an insurance holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of life and health insurance products and annuities to a base of customers. The Company’s segments include life insurance, health insurance, annuities and investment. The life insurance segment includes traditional and interest-sensitive whole life insurance as well as term life insurance.

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