Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning. They currently have $86.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Torchmark’s niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth. The life insurer estimates life and health sales growth in distribution channels. Also, a strong capital position and robust capital management are key positives. Torchmark now expects net operating income between $4.70 per share and $4.80 per share in 2017 banking on better than expected underwriting income and an increase in investment income, life underwriting income to increase between 2% and 4% while health underwriting income to increase between 1% and 3%. However, higher administrative expenses, pension costs and investments in IT systems will likely be a drag on Torchmark’s earnings in the near term. Shares of Torchmark also underperformed the industry year to date.”

A number of other brokerages have also commented on TMK. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Torchmark Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, August 1st. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a hold rating and set a $78.00 price objective on shares of Torchmark Corporation in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. Barclays PLC raised their price objective on shares of Torchmark Corporation from $65.00 to $67.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Torchmark Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $73.00.

Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) opened at 77.52 on Tuesday. Torchmark Corporation has a 12-month low of $62.86 and a 12-month high of $79.90. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $78.13 and its 200 day moving average is $77.01. The stock has a market capitalization of $9.02 billion, a PE ratio of 16.67 and a beta of 0.99.

Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The insurance provider reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $1.03 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.03 billion. Torchmark Corporation had a net margin of 13.96% and a return on equity of 11.55%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.11 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Torchmark Corporation will post $4.75 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be paid a $0.15 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.77%. Torchmark Corporation’s payout ratio is currently 12.88%.

In other news, Chairman Gary L. Coleman sold 37,500 shares of Torchmark Corporation stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.57, for a total value of $2,946,375.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 666,875 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $52,396,368.75. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP Arvelia Bowie sold 16,875 shares of Torchmark Corporation stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.45, for a total transaction of $1,323,843.75. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 17,941 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,407,471.45. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 137,821 shares of company stock worth $10,837,593 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 3.79% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. increased its stake in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 2.9% in the first quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,427 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $187,000 after buying an additional 69 shares during the last quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC increased its stake in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 539.3% in the first quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 2,506 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $193,000 after buying an additional 2,114 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Torchmark Corporation during the first quarter valued at approximately $205,000. Dai Ichi Life Insurance Company Ltd bought a new stake in shares of Torchmark Corporation during the first quarter valued at approximately $206,000. Finally, Warren Averett Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Torchmark Corporation during the first quarter valued at approximately $207,000. 71.92% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Torchmark Corporation Company Profile

Torchmark Corporation (Torchmark) is an insurance holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of life and health insurance products and annuities to a base of customers. The Company’s segments include life insurance, health insurance, annuities and investment. The life insurance segment includes traditional and interest-sensitive whole life insurance as well as term life insurance.

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Analyst Recommendations for Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK)

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