Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Torchmark Corp. (NYSE:TMK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has $71.00 price target on the stock.
According to Zacks, “Torchmark’s niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth. The company 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, the company 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.”
TMK has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Wells Fargo & Co. restated an underperform rating on shares of Torchmark Corp. in a research note on Friday, September 23rd. Evercore ISI started coverage on Torchmark Corp. in a research note on Wednesday, July 6th. They issued a hold rating and a $63.00 price target on the stock. Deutsche Bank AG increased their price target on Torchmark Corp. from $56.00 to $59.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Friday, July 29th. RBC Capital Markets restated an underperform rating and issued a $55.00 price target (up previously from $53.00) on shares of Torchmark Corp. in a research note on Monday, August 1st. Finally, Citigroup Inc. increased their price target on Torchmark Corp. from $58.00 to $60.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, July 7th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $58.36.
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 analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.09 by $0.02. Torchmark Corp. had a return on equity of 12.19% and a net margin of 13.85%. The business had revenue of $992 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $979.43 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.05 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Investors of record on Friday, October 7th will be given a $0.14 dividend. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.88%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, October 5th. Torchmark Corp.’s payout ratio is currently 12.84%.
In related news, insider John Henry Rogers, Jr. sold 875 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total value of $56,901.25. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 875 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $56,901.25. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Chairman Gary L. Coleman sold 37,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.06, for a total value of $2,327,250.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 625,581 shares in the company, valued at $38,823,556.86. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.96% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Pillar Pacific Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Torchmark Corp. by 0.3% in the second quarter. Pillar Pacific Capital Management LLC now owns 6,446 shares of the company’s stock valued at $398,000 after buying an additional 17 shares during the period. Veritable L.P. raised its stake in Torchmark Corp. by 0.8% in the second quarter. Veritable L.P. now owns 4,273 shares of the company’s stock valued at $264,000 after buying an additional 33 shares during the period. CIBC Asset Management Inc raised its stake in Torchmark Corp. by 0.9% in the second quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 11,768 shares of the company’s stock valued at $727,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. State Treasurer State of Michigan raised its stake in Torchmark Corp. by 0.3% in the second quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan now owns 38,946 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,408,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Finally, Balentine LLC raised its stake in Torchmark Corp. by 5.7% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,855 shares of the company’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. 75.52% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Torchmark Corp. Company Profile
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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