Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has $46.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “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. With respect to quarterly results, Unum’s third-quarter earnings per share beat expectations and improved year over year. Strong performances by Unum U.S. and Colonial Life were partially offset by underperformance of Unum U.K.”

Several other equities analysts have also issued reports on UNM. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on shares of Unum Group from $35.00 to $36.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Wells Fargo & Co. started coverage on shares of Unum Group in a report on Thursday, September 22nd. They issued a market perform rating on the stock. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lifted their price target on shares of Unum Group from $30.00 to $33.00 and gave the stock a sell rating in a report on Friday, September 23rd. Credit Suisse Group AG started coverage on shares of Unum Group in a report on Friday, October 7th. They issued a neutral rating and a $42.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada lifted their price target on shares of Unum Group from $36.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Tuesday. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $37.71.

Analyst Recommendations for Unum Group (NYSE:UNM)

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) traded up 0.26% during trading on Thursday, hitting $42.65. The stock had a trading volume of 360,462 shares. Unum Group has a 12 month low of $23.99 and a 12 month high of $42.67. The stock has a market cap of $9.90 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.19 and a beta of 1.50. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $36.98 and a 200-day moving average of $34.81.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 26th. The company reported $0.99 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.95 by $0.04. Unum Group had a net margin of 8.29% and a return on equity of 10.24%. The business had revenue of $2.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.74 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.83 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that Unum Group will post $3.89 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 18th. Shareholders of record on Monday, October 31st will be given a $0.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 27th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.88%. Unum Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 20.94%.

In other news, CFO John F. Mcgarry sold 12,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $41.44, for a total transaction of $497,280.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Thomas R. Watjen sold 178,927 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.56, for a total transaction of $6,362,644.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.62% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. HBK Investments L P boosted its stake in Unum Group by 168.2% in the first quarter. HBK Investments L P now owns 17,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $547,000 after buying an additional 11,100 shares in the last quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd boosted its stake in Unum Group by 25.7% in the first quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd now owns 224,727 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,030,000 after buying an additional 45,876 shares in the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in Unum Group by 52.6% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 43,734 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,352,000 after buying an additional 15,075 shares in the last quarter. Springbok Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Unum Group during the first quarter worth approximately $281,000. Finally, Barclays PLC boosted its stake in Unum Group by 352.3% in the first quarter. Barclays PLC now owns 287,624 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,628,000 after buying an additional 224,032 shares in the last quarter. 93.91% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:UNM

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