Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $88.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Torchmark’s bottomline in the second quarter beat expectation on higher premiums from the Life and Health segments, and lower share count. Shares of Torchmark underperformed the year to date. Higher administrative expenses, pension costs and investments in IT systems will likely be a drag on Torchmark’s earnings in the near term. Nonetheless, Torchmark’s niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth. The life insurer estimates life and health sales growth in distribution channels. Also, a strong capital position and robust capital management are key positives. Torchmark now expects net operating income between $4.70 per share and $4.80 per share in 2017 banking on better than expected underwriting income and an increase in investment income, life underwriting income to increase between 2% and 4% while health underwriting income to increase between 1% and 3%.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Torchmark Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, June 17th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Torchmark Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a hold rating and issued a $75.00 target price on shares of Torchmark Corporation in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Torchmark Corporation presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $70.00.

Shares of Torchmark Corporation (TMK) traded down 0.56% during trading on Friday, reaching $78.53. 142,864 shares of the company traded hands. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $77.41 and its 200-day moving average is $76.41. Torchmark Corporation has a 12-month low of $60.49 and a 12-month high of $79.53. The stock has a market capitalization of $9.19 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.87 and a beta of 0.98.

Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 26th. The insurance provider reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $1.03 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.03 billion. Torchmark Corporation had a net margin of 13.96% and a return on equity of 11.70%. The business’s revenue was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.11 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Torchmark Corporation will post $4.74 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, July 5th will be given a dividend of $0.15 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 30th. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.76%. Torchmark Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 12.88%.

In related news, insider Steven John Dichiaro sold 4,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.08, for a total transaction of $337,860.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 12,860 shares in the company, valued at $965,528.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Gary L. Coleman sold 37,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.57, for a total transaction of $2,946,375.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 666,875 shares in the company, valued at approximately $52,396,368.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 43,827 shares of company stock worth $3,427,947. 3.79% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of TMK. Creative Planning increased its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 0.3% in the first quarter. Creative Planning now owns 7,594 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $585,000 after buying an additional 25 shares during the period. Mason Street Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 0.3% in the first quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 15,134 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,166,000 after buying an additional 39 shares during the period. Meeder Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 0.6% in the second quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 10,455 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $800,000 after buying an additional 59 shares during the period. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. increased its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 2.9% in the first quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,427 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $187,000 after buying an additional 69 shares during the period. Finally, Mn Services Vermogensbeheer B.V. increased its position in shares of Torchmark Corporation by 3.3% in the first quarter. Mn Services Vermogensbeheer B.V. now owns 3,006 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $217,000 after buying an additional 96 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 74.96% of the company’s stock.

Torchmark Corporation Company Profile

Torchmark Corporation (Torchmark) is an insurance holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of life and health insurance products and annuities to a base of customers. The Company’s segments include life insurance, health insurance, annuities and investment. The life insurance segment includes traditional and interest-sensitive whole life insurance as well as term life insurance.

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Analyst Recommendations for Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK)

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