Zacks Investment Research cut shares of CNO Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:CNO) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “CNO Financial’s low market share in some product lines might limit business opportunities going forward. Also, the suspension of the share buyback plan for this year might affect the bottom line. However, the company’s strong underwriting results pave the way for long term growth. The company’s third quarter earnings of $0.37 per share handily beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.7% and grew 23% year over year driven by solid revenues. CNO Financial’s capital position and efficient capital management via share buyback and dividend payout remain strength. Technological advancement has helped the company increase productivity in spite of pressures related to agent recruitment. The company is presently engaged in strategizing plans to reduce long-term care exposure via run-off of existing non-performing businesses, reinsurance and focus on growth of other potential business lines.”

A number of other research analysts have also commented on the stock. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $17.00 price objective on shares of CNO Financial Group and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Monday, October 3rd. Deutsche Bank AG set a $16.00 price objective on shares of CNO Financial Group and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Friday, September 30th. BTIG Research lowered shares of CNO Financial Group from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, September 30th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lowered shares of CNO Financial Group from a buy rating to a neutral rating and lowered their price objective for the company from $21.00 to $17.00 in a research note on Friday, September 30th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co. assumed coverage on shares of CNO Financial Group in a research note on Thursday, September 22nd. They set an outperform rating on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $18.61.

Analyst Recommendations for CNO Financial Group (NYSE:CNO)

CNO Financial Group (NYSE:CNO) opened at 17.69 on Tuesday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $16.27 and a 200 day moving average price of $16.94. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.07 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.32 and a beta of 1.19. CNO Financial Group has a 12 month low of $14.30 and a 12 month high of $20.88.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 23rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 9th will be given a dividend of $0.08 per share. This represents a $0.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.81%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, December 7th. CNO Financial Group’s payout ratio is 22.54%.

In other CNO Financial Group news, EVP Susan L. Menzel sold 79,500 shares of CNO Financial Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $17.50, for a total transaction of $1,391,250.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 1,960 shares in the company, valued at approximately $34,300. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 2.20% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Seven Eight Capital LLC purchased a new position in CNO Financial Group during the first quarter valued at $102,000. Cantab Capital Partners LLP purchased a new position in CNO Financial Group during the second quarter valued at $146,000. LS Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in CNO Financial Group by 5.0% in the third quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 11,280 shares of the company’s stock valued at $172,000 after buying an additional 540 shares during the last quarter. World Asset Management Inc purchased a new position in CNO Financial Group during the second quarter valued at $175,000. Finally, Princeton Alpha Management LP purchased a new position in CNO Financial Group during the third quarter valued at $178,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 96.91% of the company’s stock.

About CNO Financial Group

CNO Financial Group, Inc is a holding company for a group of insurance companies operating across the United States that develop, market and administer health insurance, annuity, individual life insurance and other insurance products. It operates through three operating segments: Bankers Life, Washington National and Colonial Penn.

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