Shares of Manulife Financial Corp. (TSE:MFC) (NYSE:MFC) hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Thursday after the company announced a dividend. The company traded as high as C$27.50 and last traded at C$26.98, with a volume of 3986932 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at C$26.38.

The newly announced dividend which will be paid on Tuesday, December 19th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 21st will be issued a $0.205 dividend. This represents a $0.82 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.99%. Manulife Financial Corp.’s payout ratio is 42.39%.

Several brokerages have commented on MFC. National Bank Financial raised their target price on shares of Manulife Financial Corp. from C$27.00 to C$29.00 and gave the stock a “sector perform” rating in a report on Thursday. BMO Capital Markets reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a C$30.00 target price on shares of Manulife Financial Corp. in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. Royal Bank Of Canada raised their target price on shares of Manulife Financial Corp. from C$26.00 to C$28.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Finally, CSFB raised their target price on shares of Manulife Financial Corp. from C$28.00 to C$31.00 in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of C$27.92.

In other news, insider Marianne Harrison sold 3,703 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of C$24.26, for a total value of C$89,834.78.

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About Manulife Financial Corp.

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) is a holding company of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (MLI), which is a life insurance company, and John Hancock Reassurance Company Ltd. (JHRECO), which is a reinsurance company. The Company operates as a financial services company with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States.

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