Manulife Financial Co. (NYSE:MFC) (TSE:MFC) saw some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders acquired 2,325 put options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 1,702% compared to the typical volume of 129 put options.

Shares of NYSE MFC opened at $15.50 on Friday. Manulife Financial has a 52-week low of $14.99 and a 52-week high of $22.16. The stock has a market capitalization of $32.03 billion, a PE ratio of 7.80, a P/E/G ratio of 0.78 and a beta of 1.29.

Manulife Financial (NYSE:MFC) (TSE:MFC) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The financial services provider reported $0.75 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.50 by $0.25. Manulife Financial had a net margin of 5.49% and a return on equity of 13.70%. The business had revenue of $6.15 billion for the quarter. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.53 EPS. Sell-side analysts forecast that Manulife Financial will post 2.08 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, December 19th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, November 20th will be given a $0.19 dividend. This is a positive change from Manulife Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.17. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, November 19th. This represents a $0.76 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.90%. Manulife Financial’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 44.44%.

Several brokerages have recently issued reports on MFC. Scotiabank reiterated an “average” rating and issued a $28.00 target price on shares of Manulife Financial in a research report on Tuesday, November 13th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Manulife Financial from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, November 30th. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Manulife Financial in a research report on Friday, November 9th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Manulife Financial from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $19.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, November 19th. Finally, TD Securities reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Manulife Financial in a research report on Thursday, November 8th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $24.33.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Jane Street Group LLC boosted its position in Manulife Financial by 22.5% during the second quarter. Jane Street Group LLC now owns 576,308 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $10,356,000 after acquiring an additional 105,930 shares during the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE boosted its position in Manulife Financial by 0.6% during the second quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 6,424,425 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $115,447,000 after acquiring an additional 38,361 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia boosted its position in Manulife Financial by 3.9% during the second quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 14,379,238 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $258,275,000 after acquiring an additional 537,871 shares during the last quarter. Waratah Capital Advisors Ltd. boosted its position in Manulife Financial by 93.1% during the third quarter. Waratah Capital Advisors Ltd. now owns 132,983 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $2,372,000 after acquiring an additional 64,100 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Korea Investment CORP boosted its position in Manulife Financial by 17.5% during the second quarter. Korea Investment CORP now owns 1,397,895 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $25,100,000 after acquiring an additional 208,500 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 46.40% of the company’s stock.

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About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides financial advice, insurance, and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups, and institutions in Asia, Canada, and the United States. The company offers individual life, and individual and group long-term care insurance through insurance agents, brokers, banks, financial planners, and direct marketing.

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