Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Unum Group have underperformed its industry in a year. Persistent soft results at Closed Block and Corporate segment remains a headwind. Also, lower sales at Unum International is a concern. Escalating expenses and high debt levels are other concerns of the company. Nonetheless, sustained premiums increase is fueled by high persistency levels in core business lines and strong sales volume along with a solid benefits experience. Acquisitions provided an additional boost. Continued rollout of dental product and geographic expansion are paying off as acquired dental insurance businesses are growing in the United States and United Kingdom. Sound capital generation and financial flexibility aided active capital deployment. The company projects operating earnings per share to grow between 4% and 7% in 2019.”

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on UNM. ValuEngine raised Unum Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, May 3rd. TheStreet raised Unum Group from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Friday, March 8th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. Unum Group presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $48.40.

Shares of UNM traded down $1.39 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $33.19. 78,489 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,922,672. Unum Group has a 12-month low of $26.76 and a 12-month high of $41.28. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a current ratio of 0.17 and a quick ratio of 0.17. The company has a market capitalization of $7.48 billion, a PE ratio of 6.38, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.72 and a beta of 1.48.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The financial services provider reported $1.31 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.31. Unum Group had a return on equity of 12.91% and a net margin of 4.54%. The company had revenue of $2.99 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.99 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.24 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Unum Group will post 5.45 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Unum Group by 21.5% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 19,837,098 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $582,815,000 after acquiring an additional 3,516,140 shares in the last quarter. Donald Smith & CO. Inc. raised its stake in shares of Unum Group by 4.5% in the 4th quarter. Donald Smith & CO. Inc. now owns 5,805,447 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $170,564,000 after acquiring an additional 250,095 shares in the last quarter. LSV Asset Management raised its stake in shares of Unum Group by 1.4% in the 4th quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 5,606,649 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $164,723,000 after acquiring an additional 76,984 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of Unum Group by 6.2% in the 1st quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 5,177,976 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $175,169,000 after acquiring an additional 302,573 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Unum Group by 30.8% in the 1st quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 3,822,675 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $129,321,000 after acquiring an additional 900,940 shares in the last quarter. 90.67% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Unum Group Company Profile

Unum Group, together with its subsidiaries, provides financial protection benefit solutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, and internationally. It operates through Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, and Closed Block segments. The company offers group long-term and short-term disability, group life, and accidental death and dismemberment products; supplemental and voluntary products, such as individual disability, voluntary benefits, and dental and vision products; and accident, sickness, disability, life, and cancer and critical illness products.

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