Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $45.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Sun Life’s aggressive re-designing of products, improved pricing, and focus on segments with higher growth and return complemented by market factor of reduced interest rate and market risk bode well. A strong balance sheet and effective capital deployment in growth initiatives will fuel earning, ROE and enhance shareholders’ value. The company continues to forge ahead with its digital and wealth initiatives in Canada, strong sales momentum in Asia, the scaling and integration of its U.S. operations, and strong long-term investment performance in asset management businesses. It targets medium-term EPS growth between 8% and 10%. The company also witnessed estimates moving north over the last 60 days. However, exposure to macro headwinds, regulatory uncertainties and low rates are headwinds. Also, shares of Sun Life Financial underperformed industry quarter to date.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on the company. ValuEngine raised Sun Life Financial from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, June 28th. BidaskClub raised Sun Life Financial from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Saturday, July 8th. Bank of America Corporation raised Sun Life Financial from an underperform rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, July 10th. TD Securities raised their price target on Sun Life Financial from $50.00 to $51.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Thursday, August 10th. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Sun Life Financial from $52.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Nine equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $50.00.

Shares of Sun Life Financial (SLF) opened at 40.04 on Tuesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $38.98 and its 200-day moving average price is $36.51. Sun Life Financial has a 52-week low of $32.03 and a 52-week high of $40.57. The company has a market capitalization of $24.57 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.59 and a beta of 0.88.

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 9th. The financial services provider reported $0.83 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.09. Sun Life Financial had a return on equity of 13.29% and a net margin of 12.48%. The firm had revenue of $8.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $7.36 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.90 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 14.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Sun Life Financial will post $3.25 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 29th. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 30th were paid a dividend of $0.3439 per share. This is a positive change from Sun Life Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. The ex-dividend date was Monday, August 28th. This represents a $1.38 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.41%. Sun Life Financial’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 43.85%.

Sun Life Financial announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, August 9th that allows the company to buyback 11,500,000 shares. This buyback authorization allows the financial services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Jones Collombin Investment Counsel Inc boosted its stake in Sun Life Financial by 20.2% during the second quarter. Jones Collombin Investment Counsel Inc now owns 2,826 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 475 shares during the period. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC boosted its stake in Sun Life Financial by 147.6% during the second quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 3,628 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $168,000 after buying an additional 2,163 shares during the period. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. boosted its stake in Sun Life Financial by 24.8% during the second quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 4,475 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $160,000 after buying an additional 888 shares during the period. Captrust Financial Advisors bought a new stake in Sun Life Financial during the second quarter valued at $162,000. Finally, Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its stake in Sun Life Financial by 0.7% during the second quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 5,338 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $191,000 after buying an additional 38 shares during the period. 40.90% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial Inc is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. The Company is a financial services company providing a range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. It operates through five segments. The Sun Life Financial Canada segment provides retail insurance and investment advice, products and services to people across Canada.

Analyst Recommendations for Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF)

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