Sun Life Financial Inc (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Sun Life’s aggressive re-designing of products, improved pricing, and focus on segments with higher growth and return complemented by market factor of reduced interest rate and market risk bode well. A strong balance sheet and effective capital deployment in growth initiatives will fuel earning, ROE and enhance shareholders’ value. It continues to forge ahead with its digital and wealth initiatives in Canada, strong sales momentum in Asia, the scaling and integration of its U.S. operations, and strong long-term investment performance in asset management businesses. Sun Life targets medium-term EPS growth between 8% and 10%. However, shares of Sun Life Financial have underperformed the Zacks categorized Life Insurance industry, year to date. Exposure to macro headwinds, regulatory uncertainties and low rates are headwind”

A number of other research firms have also recently weighed in on SLF. Royal Bank of Canada cut shares of Sun Life Financial from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and cut their price objective for the company from $53.00 to $51.00 in a research report on Friday, February 17th. Scotiabank cut shares of Sun Life Financial from a “sector outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 16th. Credit Suisse Group AG cut shares of Sun Life Financial from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 10th. Finally, National Bank Financial restated an “outperform overweight” rating on shares of Sun Life Financial in a report on Tuesday, May 9th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $45.43.

Analyst Recommendations for Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF)

Shares of Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) traded up 1.37% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $33.19. 398,651 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Sun Life Financial has a 12-month low of $30.38 and a 12-month high of $40.57. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $35.23 and its 200-day moving average is $37.24. The stock has a market cap of $20.37 billion, a PE ratio of 11.17 and a beta of 1.14.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 30th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, May 31st will be issued a dividend of $0.3164 per share. This represents a $1.27 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.87%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 26th. Sun Life Financial’s payout ratio is 44.48%.

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Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. World Asset Management Inc raised its stake in Sun Life Financial by 8.1% in the third quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 40,973 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,333,000 after buying an additional 3,069 shares during the last quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board raised its stake in Sun Life Financial by 4.4% in the third quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 621,656 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $20,193,000 after buying an additional 26,000 shares during the last quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. raised its stake in Sun Life Financial by 2.5% in the third quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 2,169,526 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $92,617,000 after buying an additional 53,400 shares during the last quarter. Huntington National Bank raised its stake in Sun Life Financial by 115.4% in the third quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 13,598 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $443,000 after buying an additional 7,285 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. purchased a new stake in Sun Life Financial during the third quarter valued at approximately $310,000. 44.41% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial Inc is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. The Company is a financial services company providing a range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. It operates through five segments. The Sun Life Financial Canada segment provides retail insurance and investment advice, products and services to people across Canada.

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