Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Thursday. The firm presently has a $86.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 11.46% from the company’s previous close.

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 issued reports on the company. BidaskClub lowered Torchmark Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, August 19th. Barclays PLC increased their target price on Torchmark Corporation from $65.00 to $67.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $78.00 target price on shares of Torchmark Corporation in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Torchmark Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $73.00.

Shares of Torchmark Corporation (TMK) traded down 0.45% during trading on Thursday, hitting $76.81. The stock had a trading volume of 100,933 shares. Torchmark Corporation has a one year low of $62.86 and a one year high of $79.90. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $77.77 and its 200-day moving average price is $76.97. The company has a market cap of $8.93 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.52 and a beta of 0.98.

Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The insurance provider reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.17 by $0.02. Torchmark Corporation had a return on equity of 11.55% and a net margin of 13.96%. The business had revenue of $1.03 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.03 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.11 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Torchmark Corporation will post $4.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other Torchmark Corporation news, Director Robert W. Ingram sold 1,827 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.66, for a total transaction of $143,711.82. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Arvelia Bowie sold 16,875 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.45, for a total value of $1,323,843.75. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 17,941 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,407,471.45. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 137,821 shares of company stock valued at $10,837,593. 3.79% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in Torchmark Corporation by 1.0% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 12,040,805 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $921,122,000 after purchasing an additional 122,391 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in Torchmark Corporation by 2,764.7% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 7,478,138 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $576,118,000 after purchasing an additional 7,217,094 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its stake in Torchmark Corporation by 2.6% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 5,852,059 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $450,848,000 after purchasing an additional 150,546 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its stake in Torchmark Corporation by 14,667.6% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,531,462 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $193,657,000 after purchasing an additional 2,514,320 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec grew its stake in Torchmark Corporation by 1.2% during the 1st quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec now owns 2,023,143 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $156,033,000 after purchasing an additional 23,100 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.94% of the company’s stock.

About Torchmark Corporation

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.

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