The Zacks Investment Research Lowers Torchmark Corp. (TMK) to Hold

The Zacks Investment Research Lowers Torchmark Corp. (TMK) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Torchmark Corp. (NYSE:TMK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Torchmark’s niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth. It estimates life and health sales growth in distribution channels. Also, a strong capital position and robust capital management are key positives. It expects 2016 life-underwriting margin to increase 1%–2% over 2015 while for health the same is estimated to 1-2%. Concurrently, Torchmark expects 2016 net operating income between $4.40 and $4.50 per share, an 80% increase over 2015 at the midpoint. Notably, it delivered positive surprises in three of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 0.7%. However, higher administrative expenses, pension costs and investments in IT systems will likely be a drag on earnings in the near term. Also, low interest rate environment will continue to impact investment income. The Zacks Consensus estimate saw no estimate revisions, for 2016 and 2017, over the last 60 days.”

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Citigroup Inc. lifted their price target on shares of Torchmark Corp. from $58.00 to $60.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, July 7th. Wells Fargo & Co. reaffirmed an underperform rating on shares of Torchmark Corp. in a research note on Friday, September 23rd. Royal Bank Of Canada lifted their price target on shares of Torchmark Corp. from $53.00 to $55.00 and gave the company an underperform rating in a research note on Monday, August 1st. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised shares of Torchmark Corp. from a sell rating to a neutral rating and lifted their price target for the company from $54.00 to $60.00 in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted their price objective on shares of Torchmark Corp. from $56.00 to $59.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Friday, July 29th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and nine have assigned a hold rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $59.17.

Torchmark Corp. (NYSE:TMK) opened at 64.38 on Tuesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $64.13 and its 200 day moving average price is $60.46. Torchmark Corp. has a 12-month low of $48.47 and a 12-month high of $65.60. The company has a market capitalization of $7.71 billion, a PE ratio of 14.81 and a beta of 1.06.

Torchmark Corp. (NYSE:TMK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.09 by $0.02. Torchmark Corp. had a net margin of 13.85% and a return on equity of 12.19%. The firm earned $992 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $979.43 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.05 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Torchmark Corp. will post $4.45 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.14 per share. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.87%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 5th. Torchmark Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 12.84%.

In other news, insider Michael Shane Henrie sold 500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.99, for a total transaction of $30,995.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $30,995. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Vern D. Herbel sold 88,125 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.87, for a total transaction of $5,452,293.75. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 85,630 shares in the company, valued at $5,297,928.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 3.96% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in TMK. Standard Life Investments LTD raised its stake in shares of Torchmark Corp. by 5.5% in the second quarter. Standard Life Investments LTD now owns 1,164,535 shares of the company’s stock worth $72,003,000 after buying an additional 61,065 shares during the period. RS Investment Management Co. LLC raised its stake in Torchmark Corp. by 3.2% in the second quarter. RS Investment Management Co. LLC now owns 471,240 shares of the company’s stock valued at $29,132,000 after buying an additional 14,475 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Torchmark Corp. by 0.4% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 956,016 shares of the company’s stock valued at $51,674,000 after buying an additional 3,607 shares during the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Torchmark Corp. by 22.4% in the first quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 35,310 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,912,000 after buying an additional 6,469 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Calvert Investment Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Torchmark Corp. during the second quarter valued at approximately $536,000. 75.52% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Torchmark Corp.

Torchmark Corporation is an insurance holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of life and health insurance products and annuities to a broad base of customers. The Company’s segments include life insurance, health insurance, annuities and investment. The life insurance segment offers whole-life insurance and term life insurance.

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