Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday. The brokerage presently has a $54.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 12.31% from the stock’s current price.

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.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on UNM. ValuEngine upgraded Unum Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. BidaskClub downgraded Unum Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 17th. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on Unum Group from $56.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Wells Fargo & Company reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Sunday, July 30th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, three have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Unum Group has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $46.56.

Unum Group (UNM) traded up 0.02% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $48.07. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 516,021 shares. The company has a market cap of $10.85 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.58 and a beta of 1.57. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $48.87 and its 200 day moving average is $47.23. Unum Group has a 12 month low of $33.98 and a 12 month high of $51.43.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 earnings per share 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 analyst estimates of $2.80 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.00 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Unum Group will post $4.17 EPS for the current year.

Unum Group declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, May 25th that allows the company to buyback $750.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the financial services provider to repurchase up to 7.2% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

WARNING: “Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Unum Group (UNM) to Buy” was originally reported by American Banking News and is the sole property of of American Banking News. If you are reading this article on another website, it was illegally stolen and reposted in violation of United States & international copyright & trademark law. The correct version of this article can be read at https://www.americanbankingnews.com/2017/09/15/zacks-investment-research-upgrades-unum-group-unm-to-buy-3.html.

In other news, EVP Breege A. Farrell sold 15,000 shares of Unum Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.47, for a total transaction of $682,050.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director Gloria C. Larson sold 2,460 shares of Unum Group 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 19,960 shares of company stock valued at $932,391 over the last quarter. 0.53% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of UNM. BB&T Investment Services Inc. bought a new position in shares of Unum Group during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $100,000. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. boosted its stake 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 worth $114,000 after acquiring an additional 29 shares during the period. Jacobi Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Unum Group during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $159,000. Huntington National Bank boosted its stake in shares of Unum Group by 25.8% during the 2nd quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 3,417 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $160,000 after acquiring an additional 700 shares during the period. Finally, Pacer Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Unum Group by 3.2% during the 1st quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 4,366 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $205,000 after acquiring an additional 134 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 92.37% of the company’s stock.

About Unum Group

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.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Unum Group (UNM)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Unum Group (NYSE:UNM)

Receive News & Ratings for Unum Group Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Unum Group and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.