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

According to Zacks, “Unum Group’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. Shares of Unum Group have the underperformed industry year to date. With respect to quarterly results, Unum Group’s second-quarter 2017 earnings outpaced our expectations and also improved year over year.”

Several other analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “hold” rating and set a $50.00 price target on shares of Unum Group in a report on Friday, April 28th. Deutsche Bank AG boosted their price target on Unum Group from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. BidaskClub upgraded Unum Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 14th. Wells Fargo & Company restated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Sunday, July 30th. Finally, Barclays PLC boosted 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. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Unum Group presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.78.

Shares of Unum Group (NYSE UNM) traded down 0.36% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $49.88. 413,943 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Unum Group has a 12 month low of $33.82 and a 12 month high of $51.43. The company’s 50 day moving average is $48.53 and its 200-day moving average is $47.15. The stock has a market cap of $11.26 billion, a PE ratio of 12.01 and a beta of 1.56.

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

Unum Group announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Thursday, May 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $750.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the financial services provider to purchase up to 7.2% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In related news, Director Gloria C. Larson sold 2,460 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.23, for a total value of $123,565.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Breege A. Farrell sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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. Insiders sold 19,960 shares of company stock worth $932,391 over the last quarter. 0.53% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in UNM. BB&T Investment Services Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Unum Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $100,000. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. boosted its stake in shares of Unum Group by 1.2% in the first quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,434 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 29 shares during the last quarter. Crestwood Advisors Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Unum Group during the first quarter valued at approximately $150,000. Jacobi Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Unum Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $159,000. Finally, Huntington National Bank boosted its stake in shares of Unum Group by 25.8% in the second quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 3,417 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $160,000 after buying an additional 700 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.84% 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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Unum Group (NYSE:UNM)

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