Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Manulife Financial Corp (NYSE:MFC) (TSE:MFC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Tuesday morning. They currently have $23.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Manulife outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Moreover, the company witnessed its 2017 and 2018 estimates moving north over the last 60 days. Manulife continues to witness new business volumes, particularly in Asia, and positive net flows in its wealth and asset management businesses. Deep reach in the Asian market and a growing asset management business would drive long-term earnings growth. The company remains on track to achieve more than $100 million in expense synergies. However, declining group benefit sales in Canada segment will weigh on results, volatile global equity markets coupled with low bond yields has largely affected the company’s capital position.”

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on MFC. BidaskClub lowered shares of Manulife Financial Corp from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Manulife Financial Corp from $26.00 to $27.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research report on Thursday, October 5th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Manulife Financial Corp from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Monday, September 18th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Manulife Financial Corp presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $24.50.

Shares of Manulife Financial Corp (NYSE:MFC) traded down 0.10% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $20.70. 481,079 shares of the stock were exchanged. The firm has a market cap of $40.95 billion, a PE ratio of 14.67 and a beta of 1.29. Manulife Financial Corp has a 52-week low of $14.15 and a 52-week high of $20.84. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $19.92 and its 200 day moving average is $18.79.

Manulife Financial Corp (NYSE:MFC) (TSE:MFC) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 9th. The financial services provider reported $0.42 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.41 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $12.34 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $16.09 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.40 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Manulife Financial Corp will post $1.79 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 19th. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 22nd were given a $0.1621 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 18th. This is an increase from Manulife Financial Corp’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.15. This represents a $0.65 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.13%. Manulife Financial Corp’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 47.83%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Ronald Blue & Co. LLC lifted its position in Manulife Financial Corp by 0.7% in the second quarter. Ronald Blue & Co. LLC now owns 12,997 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $244,000 after buying an additional 93 shares during the last quarter. MML Investors Services LLC lifted its position in Manulife Financial Corp by 1.6% in the second quarter. MML Investors Services LLC now owns 16,014 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $300,000 after buying an additional 245 shares during the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. lifted its position in Manulife Financial Corp by 0.9% in the second quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 29,736 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $558,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the last quarter. Park National Corp OH lifted its position in Manulife Financial Corp by 3.9% in the second quarter. Park National Corp OH now owns 13,525 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $254,000 after buying an additional 508 shares during the last quarter. Finally, M&T Bank Corp lifted its position in Manulife Financial Corp by 1.8% in the second quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 41,840 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $785,000 after buying an additional 754 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 45.96% of the company’s stock.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Manulife Financial Corp (NYSE:MFC)

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