Zacks Investment Research Lowers Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Sun Life Financial outperformed industry, quarter to date. The company also witnessed estimates moving north over the last 60 days. Aggressive re-designing of products, improved pricing, and focus on segments with higher growth and return complemented by market factor of reduced interest rate and market risk bode well. A strong balance sheet and effective capital deployment in growth initiatives will fuel earning, ROE and enhance shareholders’ value. The company continues to forge ahead with its digital and wealth initiatives in Canada, strong sales momentum in Asia, the scaling and integration of its U.S. operations, and strong long-term investment performance in asset management businesses. It targets medium-term EPS growth between 8% and 10%. However, exposure to macro headwinds, regulatory uncertainties and low rates are headwinds.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. ValuEngine cut shares of Sun Life Financial from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Sun Life Financial from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research report on Saturday, June 10th. Bank of America Corporation upgraded shares of Sun Life Financial from an underperform rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, July 10th. TD Securities increased their target price on shares of Sun Life Financial from $50.00 to $51.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, August 10th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada upgraded shares of Sun Life Financial from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $51.00 target price for the company in a research report on Wednesday, June 7th. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Sun Life Financial presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $45.80.

Sun Life Financial (SLF) opened at 39.14 on Tuesday. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $38.43 and a 200-day moving average of $36.17. The stock has a market capitalization of $24.02 billion, a PE ratio of 11.66 and a beta of 0.86. Sun Life Financial has a 52 week low of $31.42 and a 52 week high of $40.57.

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 9th. The financial services provider reported $0.83 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.09. The company had revenue of $8.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $7.36 billion. Sun Life Financial had a net margin of 12.48% and a return on equity of 13.29%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 14.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.90 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts predict that Sun Life Financial will post $3.34 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 29th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 30th will be given a $0.3439 dividend. This represents a $1.38 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.54%. This is a boost from Sun Life Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, August 28th. Sun Life Financial’s dividend payout ratio is 43.85%.

Sun Life Financial announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Wednesday, August 9th that allows the company to repurchase 11,500,000 shares. This repurchase authorization allows the financial services provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. TD Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Sun Life Financial by 1.7% in the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 20,568,078 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $734,224,000 after buying an additional 351,938 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in Sun Life Financial by 4.6% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 13,668,290 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $488,642,000 after purchasing an additional 595,894 shares during the last quarter. Beutel Goodman & Co Ltd. increased its position in Sun Life Financial by 50.7% during the second quarter. Beutel Goodman & Co Ltd. now owns 9,170,839 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $327,474,000 after purchasing an additional 3,083,485 shares during the last quarter. Letko Brosseau & Associates Inc. increased its position in Sun Life Financial by 0.3% during the second quarter. Letko Brosseau & Associates Inc. now owns 7,921,162 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $282,764,000 after purchasing an additional 23,720 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Nova Scotia increased its position in Sun Life Financial by 1.2% during the first quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 7,024,399 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $256,508,000 after purchasing an additional 81,565 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 40.90% of the company’s stock.

Sun Life Financial Company Profile

Sun Life Financial Inc is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. The Company is a financial services company providing a range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. It operates through five segments. The Sun Life Financial Canada segment provides retail insurance and investment advice, products and services to people across Canada.

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Analyst Recommendations for Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF)

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