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

According to Zacks, “Shares of Unum Group have outperformed industry in a year's time. Moreover, the company has witnessed its 2017 and 2018 estimates moving north over the last 60 days. 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.”

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the company. BidaskClub upgraded Unum Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. ValuEngine upgraded Unum Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Wells Fargo & Company restated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a research report on Sunday, July 30th. Finally, Barclays PLC raised their target price on Unum Group from $56.00 to $57.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, August 11th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $46.44.

Shares of Unum Group (NYSE UNM) traded up 0.58% on Tuesday, reaching $48.32. The company had a trading volume of 400,602 shares. Unum Group has a 12 month low of $33.98 and a 12 month high of $51.43. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $48.89 and a 200-day moving average price of $47.21. The company has a market capitalization of $10.90 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.64 and a beta of 1.57.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.01 by $0.04. Unum Group had a return on equity of 10.23% and a net margin of 8.57%. The firm had revenue of $2.81 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.80 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.00 EPS. Analysts forecast that Unum Group will post $4.17 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Unum Group declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock 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 purchase up to 7.2% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

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In other news, Director Gloria C. Larson sold 2,460 shares of Unum Group stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.23, for a total transaction of $123,565.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Breege A. Farrell sold 15,000 shares of Unum Group 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. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 19,960 shares of company stock worth $932,391. 0.53% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. increased its position in shares of Unum Group by 1.2% during the 1st quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,434 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $114,000 after purchasing an additional 29 shares during the period. Gotham Asset Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Unum Group by 0.8% in the 2nd quarter. Gotham Asset Management LLC now owns 4,475 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $209,000 after acquiring an additional 35 shares during the last quarter. Quantum Capital Management grew its holdings in shares of Unum Group by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Quantum Capital Management now owns 15,174 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $708,000 after acquiring an additional 54 shares during the last quarter. HM Payson & Co. grew its holdings in shares of Unum Group by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. HM Payson & Co. now owns 12,527 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $584,000 after acquiring an additional 62 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Unum Group by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. now owns 26,338 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,228,000 after acquiring an additional 81 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 92.37% of the company’s stock.

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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