Todays Report: The Zacks Investment Research Downgrades CNO Financial Group Inc. (CNO) to Strong Sell

The Zacks Investment Research Downgrades CNO Financial Group Inc. (CNO) to Strong Sell

CNO Financial Group Inc. (NYSE:CNO) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “CNO Financial’s low market share in some product lines might limit business opportunities and leave an adverse impact on profitability. Also the suspension of share buyback plan for this year might affect the bottom line. However, the company has been largely benefited by the Launch of new units like bankers Life Securities and Bankers Life Advisory Services that are likely to help the company in growing its retirement business. A strong capital position and efficient capital management via share buyback and dividend payout also work as strength. Technological advancement has helped the company to increase productivity, though the pressures of agent recruitment continue. The company is presently engaged in strategizing plans to reduce long-term care exposure via run-off of existing non performing businesses, reinsurance and focus on the growth of other potential business lines.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Citigroup Inc. decreased their target price on CNO Financial Group from $21.00 to $20.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. BTIG Research reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of CNO Financial Group in a research report on Friday, July 15th. Deutsche Bank AG decreased their target price on CNO Financial Group from $20.00 to $19.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. Evercore ISI started coverage on CNO Financial Group in a research report on Wednesday, July 6th. They set a “hold” rating and a $19.00 target price for the company. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods set a $17.00 target price on CNO Financial Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, October 3rd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $18.85.

Shares of CNO Financial Group (NYSE:CNO) opened at 15.63 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $2.74 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.50 and a beta of 1.23. CNO Financial Group has a 52 week low of $14.30 and a 52 week high of $20.88. The company has a 50 day moving average of $15.65 and a 200-day moving average of $17.39.

CNO Financial Group (NYSE:CNO) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.35 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.35. The firm earned $1 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $961.56 million. CNO Financial Group had a return on equity of 5.68% and a net margin of 7.20%. The company’s revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.34 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that CNO Financial Group will post $1.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 23rd. Investors of record on Friday, September 9th were paid a $0.08 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, September 7th. This represents a $0.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.05%. CNO Financial Group’s payout ratio is 21.48%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Seven Eight Capital LLC purchased a new position in shares of CNO Financial Group during the first quarter worth approximately $102,000. Cantab Capital Partners LLP bought a new position in CNO Financial Group during the second quarter valued at about $146,000. World Asset Management Inc bought a new position in CNO Financial Group during the second quarter valued at about $175,000. Zacks Investment Management bought a new position in CNO Financial Group during the second quarter valued at about $179,000. Finally, LS Investment Advisors LLC raised its position in CNO Financial Group by 74.4% in the second quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 10,740 shares of the company’s stock valued at $188,000 after buying an additional 4,580 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 97.63% of the company’s stock.

About CNO Financial Group

CNO Financial Group, Inc is a holding company for a group of insurance companies operating across the United States that develop, market and administer health insurance, annuity, individual life insurance and other insurance products. It operates through three operating segments: Bankers Life, Washington National and Colonial Penn.

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