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

According to Zacks, “Shares of Unum Group have outperformed industry in a year's time. The company’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.”

UNM has been the subject of a number of other reports. BidaskClub upgraded Unum Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. ValuEngine upgraded Unum Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Friday. Wells Fargo & Company reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Sunday, July 30th. Barclays PLC increased their price target on Unum Group from $56.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.56.

Shares of Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) traded up 0.87% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $48.60. 627,316 shares of the stock were exchanged. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $48.89 and a 200-day moving average price of $47.29. The stock has a market cap of $10.97 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.71 and a beta of 1.57. Unum Group has a 12 month low of $33.98 and a 12 month high of $51.43.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.01 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $2.81 billion during 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 period in the prior year, the business posted $1.00 EPS. Equities 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 shares. This buyback authorization permits the financial services provider to repurchase up to 7.2% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In related news, EVP Breege A. Farrell sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.47, for a total transaction of $682,050.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Pamela H. Godwin sold 2,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.71, for a total value of $126,775.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 19,960 shares of company stock valued at $932,391 over the last 90 days. 0.53% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in UNM. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in Unum Group by 2,690.7% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,788,648 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $787,221,000 after acquiring an additional 16,187,062 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in Unum Group by 8,280.8% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,062,519 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $96,175,000 after acquiring an additional 2,037,909 shares during the period. AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in Unum Group by 32.4% during the 1st quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 5,699,745 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $267,262,000 after acquiring an additional 1,395,330 shares during the period. Boston Partners boosted its holdings in Unum Group by 16.6% during the 1st quarter. Boston Partners now owns 9,564,880 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $448,498,000 after acquiring an additional 1,358,289 shares during the period. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its holdings in Unum Group by 75.8% during the 1st quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 2,381,719 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $111,679,000 after acquiring an additional 1,026,653 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 92.37% of the company’s stock.

About Unum Group

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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