Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Sun Life Financial remains exposed to macro headwinds, regulatory uncertainties and rising expenses. These in turn continues to weigh on earnings and thus constrain growth. However, a well-diversified business profile positions it well for the long term. An aggressive re-designing of products, improved pricing, and focus on segments with higher growth and return complemented by market factor of reduced interest rate and market risk bode well. A strong balance sheet with a well-endowed cash balance, its effective capital deployment in growth initiatives will fuel earning, return on equity as well as enhance shareholders’ value. Recently, the company partnered with MaRS to extend its digital innovation agenda. All these positives drove the Zacks Consensus Estimate higher over the last few weeks. Riding on operational strength, the company envisions growing its bottom line between 8% and 10% and ROE between 12% and 14% over the medium term.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on SLF. National Bank Financial reiterated an outperform rating and set a $47.00 price target (up from $44.00) on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research report on Wednesday, May 25th. Argus reiterated a buy rating and set a $37.00 price target on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research report on Thursday, June 16th. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a buy rating and set a $46.00 price target (down from $47.00) on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Scotiabank reiterated an outperform rating and set a $46.00 price target (down from $48.00) on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research report on Saturday, August 13th. Finally, TD Securities reiterated a buy rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research report on Saturday, August 13th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $44.33.

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) opened at 31.41 on Wednesday. Sun Life Financial has a 1-year low of $25.31 and a 1-year high of $35.46. The company’s 50 day moving average is $32.10 and its 200 day moving average is $32.65. The company has a market cap of $19.25 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.27 and a beta of 1.15.

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 10th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.70 by $0.20. Sun Life Financial had a net margin of 7.47% and a return on equity of 11.88%. The business earned $6.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.92 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.00 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that Sun Life Financial will post $2.83 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 30th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 31st will be given a dividend of $0.3074 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, August 29th. This represents a $1.23 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.92%. Sun Life Financial’s dividend payout ratio is presently 49.80%.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. TD Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 6.4% in the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,888,439 shares of the company’s stock valued at $649,931,000 after buying an additional 1,195,515 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 12.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,618,189 shares of the company’s stock valued at $381,425,000 after buying an additional 1,257,170 shares in the last quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp bought a new stake in shares of Sun Life Financial during the second quarter valued at $121,640,000. Swiss National Bank increased its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 3.7% in the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 3,464,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $113,247,000 after buying an additional 124,900 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 0.3% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 2,831,258 shares of the company’s stock valued at $92,509,000 after buying an additional 8,552 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 43.14% of the company’s stock.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial Inc is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. The Company is a financial services organization providing a range of protection and wealth products and services. It operates in five segments: Sun Life Financial Canada (SLF Canada), Sun Life Financial United States (SLF U.S.), Sun Life Financial Asset Management (SLF Asset Management), Sun Life Financial Asia (SLF Asia) and Corporate.

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