The Unum Group (UNM) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

The Unum Group (UNM) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Unum Group significantly outperformed the Zacks categorized Accident & Health industry, over the last three months. Unum’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 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. Sustained favorable performance drives solid capital generation and strong financial flexibility aiding active capital deployment. However, exposure to low interest rate environment remains the key headwind affecting Unum U.K. results. It is set to report its fourth quarter results on Feb 1. A Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of a beat, but combined with Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes prediction difficult.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Royal Bank Of Canada upped their target price on Unum Group from $36.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 15th. Compass Point cut Unum Group from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $42.00 price target for the company. in a research note on Monday, November 28th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. RBC Capital Markets reiterated a sector perform rating on shares of Unum Group in a research note on Friday, December 9th. Barclays PLC reiterated a buy rating and issued a $50.00 price target on shares of Unum Group in a research note on Monday, January 9th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased their price target on Unum Group from $30.00 to $33.00 and gave the company a sell rating in a research note on Friday, September 23rd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Unum Group currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $39.54.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) opened at 44.49 on Monday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $43.97 and a 200-day moving average price of $37.50. The firm has a market capitalization of $10.33 billion, a PE ratio of 11.67 and a beta of 1.56. Unum Group has a 1-year low of $23.99 and a 1-year high of $45.47.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 26th. The company reported $0.99 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.95 by $0.04. Unum Group had a return on equity of 10.24% and a net margin of 8.29%. The firm earned $2.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.74 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.83 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that Unum Group will post $3.90 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 17th. Shareholders of record on Monday, January 30th will be issued a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, January 26th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.80%. Unum Group’s payout ratio is currently 20.94%.

In other Unum Group news, EVP Christopher J. Jerome sold 8,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $41.49, for a total transaction of $331,920.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Thomas R. Watjen sold 178,927 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.56, for a total value of $6,362,644.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.62% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new stake in shares of Unum Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $56,674,000. American Century Companies Inc. increased its stake in shares of Unum Group by 38.1% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 5,279,960 shares of the company’s stock valued at $167,850,000 after buying an additional 1,455,618 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Unum Group by 4.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 22,424,545 shares of the company’s stock valued at $712,877,000 after buying an additional 875,760 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Unum Group by 29.3% in the third quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 2,739,136 shares of the company’s stock valued at $96,719,000 after buying an additional 619,895 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Boston Partners increased its stake in shares of Unum Group by 5.9% in the third quarter. Boston Partners now owns 8,717,489 shares of the company’s stock valued at $307,814,000 after buying an additional 483,254 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 92.75% of the company’s stock.

About Unum Group

Unum Group is a provider of disability insurance products in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Company provides a portfolio of other insurance products, including employer and employee paid group benefits, life insurance and other related services. Its segments are Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, Closed Block and Corporate.

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