Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning.
According to Zacks, “Sun Life’s aggressive re-designing of products, improved pricing, and focus on segments with higher growth and return complemented by market factor of reduced interest rate and market risk bode well. A strong balance sheet with a well-endowed cash balance, effective capital deployment in growth initiatives will fuel earning, ROE and enhance shareholders’ value. Riding on operational strength, the company envisions growing its bottom line between 8% and 10% and ROE between 12% and 14% over the medium term. A well-diversified business profile positions it well for the long term. However, Sun Life remains exposed to macro headwinds, regulatory uncertainties and rising expenses. These in turn continues to weigh on earnings and thus constrain growth. With respect to quarterly results, third quarter operating net income improved year over year. Both wealth, and life and health sales improved, and exhibited better results.”
Several other research firms also recently weighed in on SLF. BMO Capital Markets reissued a hold rating on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research note on Friday, November 11th. Credit Suisse Group AG began coverage on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research note on Monday, November 14th. They set an outperform rating on the stock. Scotiabank reaffirmed an outperform rating and set a $46.00 target price (down from $48.00) on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research note on Saturday, August 13th. Argus reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $37.00 target price on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research note on Friday, September 30th. Finally, Edward Jones downgraded shares of Sun Life Financial from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Monday. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Sun Life Financial currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $45.25.
Shares of Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) opened at 39.53 on Tuesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $34.69 and a 200 day moving average of $33.26. Sun Life Financial has a 12 month low of $25.31 and a 12 month high of $39.87. The stock has a market cap of $24.23 billion, a PE ratio of 14.27 and a beta of 1.17.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 30th. Investors of record on Wednesday, November 30th will be issued a $0.3134 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 28th. This represents a $1.25 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.17%. This is a boost from Sun Life Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.31. Sun Life Financial’s payout ratio is 44.13%.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SLF. 1832 Asset Management L.P. boosted its position in shares of Sun Life Financial by 70.0% in the third quarter. 1832 Asset Management L.P. now owns 10,620,902 shares of the company’s stock worth $345,730,000 after buying an additional 4,374,337 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company purchased a new position in Sun Life Financial during the third quarter valued at approximately $122,394,000. Mackenzie Financial Corp purchased a new position in Sun Life Financial during the second quarter valued at approximately $121,640,000. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Sun Life Financial by 12.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,618,189 shares of the company’s stock valued at $381,425,000 after buying an additional 1,257,170 shares during the period. Finally, TD Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in Sun Life Financial by 6.4% in the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,888,439 shares of the company’s stock valued at $649,931,000 after buying an additional 1,195,515 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 42.62% of the company’s stock.
About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial Inc is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. The Company is a financial services organization providing a range of protection and wealth products and services. It operates in five segments: Sun Life Financial Canada (SLF Canada), Sun Life Financial United States (SLF U.S.), Sun Life Financial Asset Management (SLF Asset Management), Sun Life Financial Asia (SLF Asia) and Corporate.
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