Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Sun Life Financial remains exposed to macro headwinds, regulatory uncertainties and rising expenses. These in turn continues to weigh on earnings and thus constrain growth. However, a well-diversified business profile positions it well for the long term. An 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 with a well-endowed cash balance, its effective capital deployment in growth initiatives will fuel earning, return on equity as well as enhance shareholders’ value. Recently, the company partnered with MaRS to extend its digital innovation agenda. All these positives drove the Zacks Consensus Estimate higher over the last few weeks. Riding on operational strength, the company envisions growing its bottom line between 8% and 10% and ROE between 12% and 14% over the medium term.”

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on SLF. Scotiabank reiterated an outperform rating and issued a $46.00 target price (down previously from $48.00) on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research note on Saturday, August 13th. National Bank Financial restated an outperform rating and set a $47.00 price target (up previously from $44.00) on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research note on Wednesday, May 25th. Morgan Stanley restated a hold rating on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research note on Sunday, August 14th. TD Securities restated a buy rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of Sun Life Financial in a research note on Saturday, August 13th. Finally, Bank of America Corp. assumed coverage on Sun Life Financial in a research note on Wednesday, August 24th. They set an underperform rating on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Sun Life Financial presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $44.33.

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) opened at 31.71 on Wednesday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $31.92 and a 200-day moving average price of $32.69. Sun Life Financial has a 12 month low of $25.31 and a 12 month high of $35.46. The stock has a market cap of $19.43 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.39 and a beta of 1.15.

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 10th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.70 by $0.20. Sun Life Financial had a return on equity of 11.88% and a net margin of 7.47%. The business had revenue of $6.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.92 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.00 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Sun Life Financial will post $2.83 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 30th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, August 31st will be issued a $0.3074 dividend. This represents a $1.23 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.88%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, August 29th. Sun Life Financial’s dividend payout ratio is presently 49.80%.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of SLF. TD Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 6.4% in the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,888,439 shares of the company’s stock valued at $649,931,000 after buying an additional 1,195,515 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 12.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,618,189 shares of the company’s stock valued at $381,425,000 after buying an additional 1,257,170 shares in the last quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp acquired a new stake in shares of Sun Life Financial during the second quarter valued at $121,640,000. Swiss National Bank increased its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 3.7% in the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 3,464,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $113,247,000 after buying an additional 124,900 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 0.3% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 2,831,258 shares of the company’s stock valued at $92,509,000 after buying an additional 8,552 shares in the last quarter. 43.14% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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 organization providing a range of protection and wealth products and services. It operates in five segments: Sun Life Financial Canada (SLF Canada), Sun Life Financial United States (SLF U.S.), Sun Life Financial Asset Management (SLF Asset Management), Sun Life Financial Asia (SLF Asia) and Corporate.

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