Hartford Financial Services Group Target of Unusually High Options Trading (HIG)

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) saw some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders acquired 3,154 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 2,219% compared to the average daily volume of 136 put options.

Shares of HIG stock opened at $48.53 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a quick ratio of 0.32 and a current ratio of 0.32. The firm has a market capitalization of $17.47 billion, a PE ratio of 11.21, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.02 and a beta of 0.72. Hartford Financial Services Group has a 12 month low of $40.54 and a 12 month high of $55.16.

Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, February 4th. The insurance provider reported $0.78 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.13. The business had revenue of $4.63 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.73 billion. Hartford Financial Services Group had a net margin of 9.53% and a return on equity of 12.31%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.81 earnings per share. Analysts anticipate that Hartford Financial Services Group will post 4.98 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, March 4th will be given a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.47%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, March 1st. Hartford Financial Services Group’s dividend payout ratio is presently 27.71%.

Hartford Financial Services Group announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Monday, February 4th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the insurance provider to reacquire up to 5.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

Several research analysts have recently weighed in on HIG shares. TheStreet cut shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a report on Thursday, January 3rd. Compass Point started coverage on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group in a report on Tuesday, January 15th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $58.00 price target for the company. Langen Mcalenn upgraded shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 4th. Janney Montgomery Scott upgraded shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 4th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reduced their price target on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from $56.00 to $55.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, December 5th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. Hartford Financial Services Group presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $56.92.

In other news, EVP David C. Robinson sold 2,392 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.35, for a total value of $110,869.20. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Christopher Swift purchased 11,423 shares of Hartford Financial Services Group stock in a transaction dated Thursday, January 10th. The stock was bought at an average price of $43.73 per share, with a total value of $499,527.79. Following the acquisition, the chief executive officer now directly owns 135,389 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,920,560.97. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. SG Americas Securities LLC raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 3.6% during the third quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 32,182 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,608,000 after acquiring an additional 1,113 shares in the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 1.2% during the third quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 232,923 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $11,633,000 after acquiring an additional 2,765 shares in the last quarter. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 5.0% during the third quarter. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 61,754 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $3,085,000 after acquiring an additional 2,930 shares in the last quarter. MML Investors Services LLC raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 64.5% during the third quarter. MML Investors Services LLC now owns 10,747 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $537,000 after acquiring an additional 4,213 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 84.3% during the third quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. now owns 3,834 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $192,000 after acquiring an additional 1,754 shares in the last quarter. 90.87% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Hartford Financial Services Group Company Profile

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides insurance and financial services to individual and business customers in the United States. Its Commercial Lines segment offers workers' compensation, property, automobile, marine, livestock, liability, and umbrella coverages; and customized insurance products and risk management services, including professional liability, bond, surety, and specialty casualty coverages.

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