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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $54.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Unum Group have outperformed industry in a year's time. Moreover, the company has witnessed its 2017 and 2018 estimates moving north over the last 60 days. The company’s premiums continue to increase, fueled by solid persistency levels in core business lines and 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. Unum expects 2017 operating earnings to grow 5–8% over the 2016 level. However, exposure to low interest rate environment remains the key headwind affecting the Unum U.K. results.”

UNM has been the topic of a number of other research reports. BidaskClub raised Unum Group from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a hold rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Barclays PLC boosted their price target on Unum Group from $56.00 to $57.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Wells Fargo & Company reiterated a hold rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Sunday, July 30th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Unum Group from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, three have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $46.56.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) traded up 0.77% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $48.43. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,962,278 shares. Unum Group has a 12-month low of $33.98 and a 12-month high of $51.43. The firm has a market cap of $10.93 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.66 and a beta of 1.57. The company’s 50-day moving average is $48.87 and its 200 day moving average is $47.23.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.01 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $2.81 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.80 billion. Unum Group had a return on equity of 10.23% and a net margin of 8.57%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.00 earnings per share. Equities analysts forecast that Unum Group will post $4.17 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 18th. Investors of record on Monday, July 31st were issued a $0.23 dividend. This is a positive change from Unum Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, July 27th. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.90%. Unum Group’s payout ratio is presently 22.17%.

Unum Group announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Thursday, May 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $750.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to reacquire up to 7.2% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Unum Group news, Director Pamela H. Godwin sold 2,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.71, for a total transaction of $126,775.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Breege A. Farrell sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.47, for a total value of $682,050.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 19,960 shares of company stock valued at $932,391. 0.53% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Keybank National Association OH lifted its holdings in Unum Group by 4.6% during the first quarter. Keybank National Association OH now owns 24,107 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,130,000 after buying an additional 1,067 shares during the period. Achmea Investment Management B.V. purchased a new stake in Unum Group during the first quarter worth $3,930,000. State of Tennessee Treasury Department lifted its holdings in Unum Group by 64.0% during the first quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 175,796 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $8,244,000 after buying an additional 68,624 shares during the period. Aviva PLC lifted its holdings in Unum Group by 0.5% during the second quarter. Aviva PLC now owns 144,311 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $6,731,000 after buying an additional 690 shares during the period. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. lifted its holdings in Unum Group by 30.5% during the second quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 3,109,206 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $144,982,000 after buying an additional 727,487 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 92.37% of the company’s stock.

About Unum Group

Unum Group is a provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Company’s products include disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision, and other related services. Its segments include Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, Closed Block and Corporate.

Analyst Recommendations for Unum Group (NYSE:UNM)

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