Unum (UNM) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Unum (NYSE:UNM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $53.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Unum Group’s premiums continue to increase, fueled by solid persistency levels in core business lines and a sturdy volume of sales along with solid benefits experience. Acquisitions have provided an additional support. Starmount Life Insurance Company buyout gave access to growth opportunities in the dental market, which is in sync with its strategy to focus more on the employee benefits business. A sustained favorable performance drives solid capital generation and strong financial flexibility, aiding active capital deployment. It projects operating earnings to grow between 17% and 23% in 2018. However, exposure to low interest rate environment remains the key headwind affecting the Unum U.K. results. Shares of Unum Group have underperformed the industry in a year’s time. It is set to release first quarter results on May 1. A Zacks Rank #2 combined with Earnings ESP of +0.86% makes us reasonably confident of an earnings beat.”

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Several other equities analysts have also issued reports on the stock. UBS started coverage on shares of Unum in a report on Friday, March 2nd. They set a neutral rating and a $57.00 price objective on the stock. Wells Fargo set a $56.00 price target on shares of Unum and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, December 13th. ValuEngine raised shares of Unum from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $54.00 price target on shares of Unum in a report on Thursday, February 1st. Finally, Langen Mcalenn reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of Unum in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $56.08.

Shares of UNM stock opened at $46.59 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $10,308.55, a P/E ratio of 10.86, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 1.46. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29, a quick ratio of 0.17 and a current ratio of 0.17. Unum has a 52-week low of $43.55 and a 52-week high of $58.73.

Unum (NYSE:UNM) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 31st. The financial services provider reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $2.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.84 billion. Unum had a net margin of 8.81% and a return on equity of 10.43%. Unum’s revenue was up 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.99 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that Unum will post 5.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, EVP Christopher J. Jerome sold 7,806 shares of Unum stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.90, for a total transaction of $397,325.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CFO John F. Mcgarry sold 4,588 shares of Unum stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.19, for a total transaction of $266,975.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 18,829 shares of company stock worth $999,888 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 0.53% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its holdings in Unum by 3.7% in the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 785,277 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $40,151,000 after buying an additional 27,791 shares in the last quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department increased its holdings in Unum by 34.6% in the fourth quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 134,707 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $7,394,000 after buying an additional 34,610 shares in the last quarter. American International Group Inc. increased its holdings in Unum by 14.3% in the fourth quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 76,913 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,222,000 after buying an additional 9,625 shares in the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC increased its holdings in Unum by 6.8% in the third quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 914,985 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $46,783,000 after buying an additional 58,117 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Old Mutual Global Investors UK Ltd. purchased a new position in Unum in the fourth quarter valued at $647,000. 92.98% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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Unum Company Profile

Unum Group, together with its subsidiaries, provides financial protection benefit solutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, and internationally. It operates through Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, and Closed Block segments. The company offers group long-term and short-term disability, group life, and accidental death and dismemberment products; supplemental and voluntary products, such as individual disability, voluntary benefits, and dental and vision products; and accident, sickness, disability, life, and cancer and critical illness products.

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