Sun Life Financial (SLF) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $44.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Focus on segments with higher growth and return bode well for Sun Life. A solid balance sheet and an effective capital deployment for growth initiatives will fuel earnings, ROE and boost shareholder value as well. It continues to forge ahead with its digital and wealth initiatives in Canada, a strong sales momentum in Asia, deeper focus on Asia, scaling and integrating U.S. operations and rendering a firm long-term investment performance in asset management businesses. It targets medium-term EPS growth between 8% and 10%, ROE of 12-14% and a dividend of 40-50%. Shares of Sun Life have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. However, rising expenses raise a concern for the company.”

A number of other equities analysts have also issued reports on the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Sun Life Financial from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 7th. Evercore ISI began coverage on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research report on Tuesday, July 10th. They set an outperform rating for the company. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Sun Life Financial presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $53.75.

Shares of Sun Life Financial stock opened at $36.95 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $24.03 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.55 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a quick ratio of 4.06, a current ratio of 4.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.20. Sun Life Financial has a 52 week low of $36.65 and a 52 week high of $44.50.

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 8th. The financial services provider reported $1.20 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.32. The firm had revenue of $5.29 billion during the quarter. Sun Life Financial had a net margin of 9.24% and a return on equity of 13.44%. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.12 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Sun Life Financial will post 3.57 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 28th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, August 29th were given a dividend of $0.365 per share. This represents a $1.46 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.95%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, August 28th. Sun Life Financial’s dividend payout ratio is presently 45.63%.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board raised its position in Sun Life Financial by 538.9% during the 2nd quarter. Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board now owns 122,706 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $4,931,000 after buying an additional 103,499 shares during the last quarter. Bridgewater Associates LP raised its position in Sun Life Financial by 226.0% during the 2nd quarter. Bridgewater Associates LP now owns 262,520 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $10,543,000 after buying an additional 182,000 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia raised its position in Sun Life Financial by 6.4% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 3,148,394 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $126,759,000 after buying an additional 189,407 shares during the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. raised its position in Sun Life Financial by 22.3% during the 1st quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 6,707 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $275,000 after buying an additional 1,225 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can raised its position in Sun Life Financial by 19.0% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 12,771,456 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $507,793,000 after buying an additional 2,039,994 shares during the last quarter. 41.08% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Sun Life Financial Company Profile

Sun Life Financial Inc, a financial services company, provides insurance, wealth, and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate clients, high-net-worth individuals, and families. It operates through Sun Life Financial Canada, Sun Life Financial United States, Sun Life Financial Asset Management, Sun Life Financial Asia, and Corporate segments.

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