Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $50.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target would indicate a potential upside of 12.38% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Unum Group significantly outperformed the Zacks categorized Accident & Health industry, over the last three months. Unum’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 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. Sustained favorable performance drives solid capital generation and strong financial flexibility aiding active capital deployment. However, exposure to low interest rate environment remains the key headwind affecting Unum U.K. results. It is set to report its fourth quarter results on Feb 1. A Zacks Rank #2 increases the predictive power of a beat, but combined with Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes prediction difficult.”

A number of other analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Barclays PLC reissued a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 price objective on shares of Unum Group in a report on Monday, January 9th. RBC Capital Markets reissued a “sector perform” rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Friday, December 9th. Royal Bank Of Canada cut Unum Group from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $43.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Friday, December 9th. Compass Point cut Unum Group from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $42.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday, November 28th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, FBR & Co raised their price target on Unum Group from $31.00 to $40.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a report on Monday, November 28th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Unum Group presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $39.54.

Analyst Recommendations for Unum Group (NYSE:UNM)

Shares of Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) opened at 44.49 on Tuesday. The company has a market capitalization of $10.33 billion, a PE ratio of 11.67 and a beta of 1.56. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $43.97 and its 200 day moving average price is $37.50. Unum Group has a 12-month low of $23.99 and a 12-month high of $45.47.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 26th. The company reported $0.99 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.95 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $2.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.74 billion. Unum Group had a return on equity of 10.24% and a net margin of 8.29%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.83 EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Unum Group will post $3.90 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 17th. Investors of record on Monday, January 30th will be given a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, January 26th. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.80%. Unum Group’s payout ratio is 20.94%.

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In related news, CFO John F. Mcgarry sold 12,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $41.44, for a total transaction of $497,280.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Thomas R. Watjen sold 178,927 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.56, for a total value of $6,362,644.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.62% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Bank of Montreal Can acquired a new stake in shares of Unum Group during the second quarter worth $56,674,000. Pitcairn Co. acquired a new stake in shares of Unum Group during the second quarter worth $279,000. PGGM Investments raised its stake in shares of Unum Group by 2.6% in the second quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 170,962 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,435,000 after buying an additional 4,335 shares in the last quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama raised its stake in shares of Unum Group by 53.0% in the second quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 392,336 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,472,000 after buying an additional 135,977 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. raised its stake in shares of Unum Group by 33.9% in the second quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 261,298 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,307,000 after buying an additional 66,208 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.75% of the company’s stock.

Unum Group Company Profile

Unum Group is a provider of disability insurance products in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Company provides a portfolio of other insurance products, including employer and employee paid group benefits, life insurance and other related services. Its segments are Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, Closed Block and Corporate.

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