Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) Begins Coverage on Unum Group (UNM)

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) began coverage on shares of Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, October 18th. The brokerage set a “sell” rating and a $48.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The)’s price target would indicate a potential downside of 9.31% from the company’s previous close.

The analysts wrote, “We believe that MET should also see value uplift as the market better appreciates the stability in the remaining business following the last 12 months that were highlighted by balance sheet and earnings volatility related to the company’s US retail separation,” the firm said.See also: Jim Cramer Advises His Viewers On Metlife, Brighthouse Financial And B&G Foods Athene Holding: Best Positioned To Deploy CapitalGoldman believes Athene Holdings is best positioned to deploy capital, which could fuel growth in a variety of interest rate scenarios. The firm sees the company to be its top pick among the higher-beta names, as excess capital and debt could help earnings per share growth.The firm believes out of the $3.5 billion of combined debt and equity capacity, $750 million to $1.25 billion could be put to work in the near term. This, according to the firm, could lead to 7–13 percent earnings per share accretion, posing upside risk to its estimates, which assume deployment only through organic means.Lincoln PressuredThe firm sees earnings and capital pressure for Lincoln from universal life insurance. While noting that the company has maintained its earnings power in its life insurance business through the cost of insurance increases and reinsurance captures, the firm said it expects a slowdown in the cost of insurance increases following impending litigation and regulatory scrutiny from the New York Department of Financial Services.The firm said this could hurt earnings from the life insurance business. Additionally, the firm said it would pose some risk heading into the third quarter actuarial review as well as the goodwill review in the fourth quarter.Unum: Valuation Downside SeenGoldman sees downside to Unum’s valuation, as it believes the closed block has negative value. Additionally, the firm said getting capital back out of the LTC business is less likely.”Our roughly $800m negative value on the LTC business is reflective of the assumption that the cash drag continues for about 10 years, which we did not feel was overly punitive given the more than 20-year duration of the product,”

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Unum Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Unum Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $56.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Thursday, August 17th. SunTrust Banks, Inc. reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $58.00 price objective on shares of Unum Group in a research note on Wednesday, September 27th. Finally, Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on shares of Unum Group from $52.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, four have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $50.73.

Unum Group (UNM) opened at 52.93 on Wednesday. Unum Group has a one year low of $34.91 and a one year high of $53.15. The company has a market cap of $11.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.75 and a beta of 1.59. The company has a 50-day moving average of $50.68 and a 200 day moving average of $48.04.

Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The financial services provider reported $1.09 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.04 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $2.82 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.82 billion. Unum Group had a net margin of 8.67% and a return on equity of 10.46%. Unum Group’s revenue was up 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.01 earnings per share. Analysts anticipate that Unum Group will post $4.17 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, Director Gloria C. Larson sold 2,460 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.23, for a total transaction of $123,565.80. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Pamela H. Godwin sold 2,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.71, for a total transaction of $126,775.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.53% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. BB&T Investment Services Inc. bought a new stake in Unum Group in the second quarter worth about $100,000. Jacobi Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Unum Group in the second quarter worth about $159,000. Huntington National Bank raised its position in Unum Group by 25.8% in the second quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 3,417 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $160,000 after acquiring an additional 700 shares in the last quarter. Schulhoff & Co. Inc. bought a new stake in Unum Group in the third quarter worth about $204,000. Finally, Gotham Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in Unum Group in the first quarter worth about $208,000. 92.61% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Unum Group

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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