Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Thursday. The firm presently has a $56.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 12.72% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Unum Group have outperformed industry in a year's time.Moreover, the company has witnessed its 2017 and 2018 estimates moving north over the last 60 days. The company’s premiums continue to increase, fueled by solid persistency levels in core business lines and sturdy volume of sales, along with solid benefits experience. Acquisitions have provided an additional support. Starmount Life Insurance Company buyout gave access to growth opportunities in the dental market, which is in sync with its strategy to focus more on the employee benefits business. A sustained favorable performance drives solid capital generation and strong financial flexibility aiding active capital deployment. Unum expects 2017 operating earnings to grow 5–8% over the 2016 level. However, exposure to low interest rate environment remains the key headwind affecting the Unum U.K. results.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on UNM. BidaskClub upgraded Unum Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on Unum Group from $56.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Wells Fargo & Company reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Unum Group in a report on Sunday, July 30th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Unum Group from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $46.78.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.01 by $0.04. Unum Group had a return on equity of 10.23% and a net margin of 8.57%. The business had revenue of $2.81 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.80 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.00 EPS.

Unum Group declared that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Thursday, May 25th that permits the company to repurchase $750.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the financial services provider to buy up to 7.2% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

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In other news, Director Gloria C. Larson sold 2,460 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.23, for a total value of $123,565.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Pamela H. Godwin sold 2,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.71, for a total value of $126,775.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 19,960 shares of company stock valued at $932,391. 0.53% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BB&T Investment Services Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Unum Group in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $100,000. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. lifted its stake in shares of Unum Group by 1.2% in the 1st quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,434 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $114,000 after purchasing an additional 29 shares during the period. Jacobi Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Unum Group in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $159,000. Huntington National Bank lifted its stake in shares of Unum Group by 25.8% in the 2nd quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 3,417 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $160,000 after purchasing an additional 700 shares during the period. Finally, Pacer Advisors Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Unum Group by 3.2% in the 1st quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 4,366 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $205,000 after purchasing an additional 134 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 92.34% of the company’s stock.

Unum Group Company Profile

Unum Group is a provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Company’s products include disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision, and other related services. Its segments include Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, Closed Block and Corporate.

Analyst Recommendations for Unum Group (NYSE:UNM)

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