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

According to Zacks, “Unum’s premiums continue to grow in core businesses with better margins and stable benefits experience. Acquisitions have also been 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. Sustained favorable performance drives solid capital generation and strong financial flexibility aiding active capital deployment. However, exposure to low interest rate environment remains the key headwind affecting Unum UK results. Also, performances at the Closed Block and Corporate segment have been disappointing over the past few quarters on lower premium stemming from expected policy terminations and maturities. Our proven model cannot conclusively say if Unum will beat expectation when it reports third quarter results on Oct 26 as Zacks Rank #3 combined with Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes prediction difficult.”

A number of other analysts also recently commented on UNM. Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on Unum Group from $35.00 to $36.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 28th. Deutsche Bank AG reduced their price objective on Unum Group from $38.00 to $33.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. Citigroup Inc. reduced their price objective on Unum Group from $35.00 to $33.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. Wells Fargo & Co. started coverage on Unum Group in a research report on Thursday, September 22nd. They issued a “market perform” rating on the stock. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. downgraded Unum Group from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $36.00 to $30.00 in a research report on Friday, July 15th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. Unum Group has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $36.46.

Analyst Recommendations for Unum Group (NYSE:UNM)

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Shares of Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) traded up 0.25% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $36.46. The company had a trading volume of 687,970 shares. The company has a market cap of $8.56 billion, a PE ratio of 10.05 and a beta of 1.50. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $35.50 and a 200-day moving average of $33.94. Unum Group has a 12 month low of $23.99 and a 12 month high of $37.26.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.99 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $2.76 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.75 billion. Unum Group had a return on equity of 10.37% and a net margin of 8.07%. Unum Group’s quarterly revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.90 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Unum Group will post $3.86 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 18th. Shareholders of record on Monday, October 31st will be paid a dividend of $0.20 per share. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.20%. Unum Group’s dividend payout ratio is presently 21.98%.

In other Unum Group news, Director Thomas R. Watjen sold 40,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $33.24, for a total transaction of $1,329,600.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Company insiders own 0.62% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in UNM. Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new stake in shares of Unum Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $56,674,000. American Century Companies Inc. raised its stake in Unum Group by 38.1% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 5,279,960 shares of the company’s stock worth $167,850,000 after buying an additional 1,455,618 shares during the period. AXA bought a new stake in Unum Group during the first quarter worth about $36,262,000. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Unum Group by 4.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 22,424,545 shares of the company’s stock worth $712,877,000 after buying an additional 875,760 shares during the period. Finally, First Trust Advisors LP raised its stake in Unum Group by 1,397.3% in the second quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 647,599 shares of the company’s stock worth $20,587,000 after buying an additional 604,348 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 93.60% of the company’s stock.

Unum Group Company Profile

Unum Group is a provider of disability insurance products in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Company provides a portfolio of other insurance products, including employer and employee paid group benefits, life insurance and other related services. Its segments are Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, Closed Block and Corporate.

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