Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Thursday, January 11th. Zacks Investment Research currently has $103.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Torchmark have outperformed the industry in a year.  Torchmark’s niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth. The insurer estimates life and health sales growth in distribution channels. Also, a strong capital position and capital management are key positives. Torchmark now expects net operating income between $4.77 and $4.83 per share in 2017 on positive outlook for life underwriting income at American Income and health insurance businesses. For 2018, it guides the bottom line between $5 and $5.25 per share. Life underwriting income is to grow in 4%-5% range while health underwriting income in 3%-5% range. However, higher administrative expenses (6.4% of premium in 2017), pension costs and investments in IT systems will likely be a drag on Torchmark’s earnings in the near term.”

Several other analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Torchmark from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a hold rating and set a $78.00 price objective on shares of Torchmark in a research report on Sunday, October 8th. SunTrust Banks raised their price objective on Torchmark from $75.00 to $85.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group started coverage on Torchmark in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. They issued a neutral rating and a $83.00 price target for the company. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $84.20.

Torchmark (NYSE TMK) opened at $83.96 on Thursday. The stock has a market cap of $10,183.56, a P/E ratio of 18.65, a PEG ratio of 2.11 and a beta of 0.93. Torchmark has a fifty-two week low of $73.53 and a fifty-two week high of $93.60. The company has a quick ratio of 0.06, a current ratio of 0.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.22.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, February 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, January 5th were paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, January 4th. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.71%. Torchmark’s dividend payout ratio is currently 12.77%.

In related news, insider Roger C. Smith sold 30,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $90.64, for a total transaction of $2,719,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 65,685 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,953,688.40. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Vern D. Herbel sold 25,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $83.89, for a total value of $2,097,250.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 96,250 shares of company stock valued at $8,563,383. Corporate insiders own 3.79% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of TMK. Tiedemann Wealth Management LLC boosted its stake in Torchmark by 8.0% in the 3rd quarter. Tiedemann Wealth Management LLC now owns 16,147 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $127,000 after purchasing an additional 1,201 shares during the period. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in Torchmark by 63.6% in the 3rd quarter. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,800 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $144,000 after purchasing an additional 700 shares during the period. Invictus RG bought a new position in Torchmark in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $165,000. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new position in Torchmark in the 4th quarter worth approximately $173,000. Finally, Assetmark Inc. boosted its stake in Torchmark by 7,975.0% in the 3rd quarter. Assetmark Inc. now owns 2,261 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $181,000 after purchasing an additional 2,233 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.15% of the company’s stock.

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Torchmark Company Profile

Torchmark Corporation (Torchmark) is an insurance holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of life and health insurance products and annuities to a base of customers. The Company’s segments include life insurance, health insurance, annuities and investment. The life insurance segment includes traditional and interest-sensitive whole life insurance as well as term life insurance.

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