Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Unum Group’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. Shares of Unum Group have the underperformed industry year to date. With respect to quarterly results, Unum Group’s second-quarter 2017 earnings outpaced our expectations and also improved year over year.”

Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on UNM. BidaskClub raised Unum Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Barclays PLC boosted their price objective on Unum Group from $56.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, August 11th. Wells Fargo & Company reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a research report on Sunday, July 30th. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted their price objective on Unum Group from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 19th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, one has assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.78.

Unum Group (NYSE UNM) traded down 0.42% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $49.85. The company had a trading volume of 413,042 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $11.25 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.01 and a beta of 1.56. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $48.53 and its 200 day moving average is $47.15. Unum Group has a 12-month low of $33.82 and a 12-month high of $51.43.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.01 by $0.04. The company 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 previous year, the firm earned $1.00 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Unum Group will post $4.17 earnings per share for the current year.

Unum Group declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Thursday, May 25th that permits the company to buyback $750.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the financial services provider to reacquire up to 7.2% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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In other 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 sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, 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 shares were 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. Insiders have sold a total of 19,960 shares of company stock worth $932,391 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.53% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Cambridge Financial Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Unum Group by 2.5% in the second quarter. Cambridge Financial Group Inc. now owns 120,798 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $5,633,000 after buying an additional 2,918 shares in the last quarter. Koch Industries Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Unum Group during the second quarter worth approximately $209,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Unum Group by 3.6% in the second quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC now owns 27,106 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,264,000 after buying an additional 937 shares in the last quarter. Kalos Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Unum Group by 0.5% in the second quarter. Kalos Management Inc. now owns 56,270 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $2,623,000 after buying an additional 274 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BB&T Investment Services Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Unum Group during the second quarter worth approximately $100,000. 92.84% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Unum Group Company Profile

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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