Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

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%. The company has also seen estimates moving north in the last 60 days. 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 equities research analysts have also recently commented on TMK. BidaskClub cut shares of Torchmark Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, August 19th. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Torchmark Corporation from $65.00 to $67.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research report on Friday, August 11th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a “hold” rating and set a $78.00 price objective on shares of Torchmark Corporation in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Torchmark Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $73.00.

Shares of Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) traded up 1.29% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $77.05. The stock had a trading volume of 139,933 shares. Torchmark Corporation has a 1-year low of $62.86 and a 1-year high of $79.90. The firm has a market capitalization of $8.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.57 and a beta of 0.98. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $77.82 and its 200 day moving average is $76.97.

Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The insurance provider reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.02. Torchmark Corporation had a net margin of 13.96% and a return on equity of 11.55%. The firm had revenue of $1.03 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.03 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.11 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Torchmark Corporation will post $4.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, Chairman Gary L. Coleman sold 37,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.57, for a total transaction of $2,946,375.00. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 666,875 shares in the company, valued at approximately $52,396,368.75. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Steven John Dichiaro sold 13,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.02, for a total transaction of $1,027,260.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 21,360 shares in the company, valued at $1,687,867.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 137,821 shares of company stock worth $10,837,593 over the last quarter. Insiders own 3.79% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Girard Partners LTD. raised its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Girard Partners LTD. now owns 3,844 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $294,000 after purchasing an additional 12 shares during the period. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 4,346 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $332,000 after purchasing an additional 27 shares during the period. Mason Street Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 0.3% during the 1st quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 15,134 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,166,000 after purchasing an additional 39 shares during the period. Meeder Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 10,455 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $800,000 after purchasing an additional 59 shares during the period. Finally, Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. raised its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 2.9% during the 1st quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,427 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $187,000 after purchasing an additional 69 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.94% of the company’s stock.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK)

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