Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Sun Life’s 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 with a well-endowed cash balance, effective capital deployment in growth initiatives will fuel earning, ROE and enhance shareholders’ value. Riding on operational strength, the company envisions growing its bottom line between 8% and 10% and ROE between 12% and 14% over the medium term. A well-diversified business profile positions it well for the long term. However, Sun Life remains exposed to macro headwinds, regulatory uncertainties and rising expenses. These in turn continues to weigh on earnings and thus constrain growth. With respect to quarterly results, third quarter operating net income improved year over year. Both wealth, and life and health sales improved, and  exhibited better results.”

SLF has been the subject of several other reports. Edward Jones downgraded Sun Life Financial from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday. Canaccord Genuity downgraded Sun Life Financial from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, November 17th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Sun Life Financial in a report on Friday, November 11th. Credit Suisse Group AG assumed coverage on Sun Life Financial in a report on Monday, November 14th. They issued an “outperform” rating for the company. Finally, RBC Capital Markets reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $53.00 price target (up from $45.00) on shares of Sun Life Financial in a report on Friday, November 11th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Sun Life Financial currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $45.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF)

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) remained flat at $39.34 on Tuesday. 456,593 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The firm has a market cap of $24.11 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.26 and a beta of 1.17. Sun Life Financial has a 1-year low of $25.31 and a 1-year high of $39.87. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $34.29 and a 200-day moving average price of $33.17.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 30th. Investors of record on Wednesday, November 30th will be given a dividend of $0.3134 per share. This represents a $1.25 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.19%. This is a boost from Sun Life Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.31. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 28th. Sun Life Financial’s dividend payout ratio is 44.13%.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. TD Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 1.3% in the third quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 20,150,910 shares of the company’s stock worth $654,550,000 after buying an additional 262,471 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 12.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,618,189 shares of the company’s stock worth $381,425,000 after buying an additional 1,257,170 shares during the period. Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. boosted its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 8.7% in the third quarter. Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. now owns 10,836,010 shares of the company’s stock worth $351,980,000 after buying an additional 863,273 shares during the period. 1832 Asset Management L.P. boosted its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 70.0% in the third quarter. 1832 Asset Management L.P. now owns 10,620,902 shares of the company’s stock worth $345,730,000 after buying an additional 4,374,337 shares during the period. Finally, Great West Life Assurance Co. Can boosted its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 3.4% in the third quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 5,304,732 shares of the company’s stock worth $172,797,000 after buying an additional 174,914 shares during the period. 42.62% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial Inc is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. The Company is a financial services organization providing a range of protection and wealth products and services. It operates in five segments: Sun Life Financial Canada (SLF Canada), Sun Life Financial United States (SLF U.S.), Sun Life Financial Asset Management (SLF Asset Management), Sun Life Financial Asia (SLF Asia) and Corporate.

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