Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Torchmark’s niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth. The life insurer estimates life and health sales growth in distribution channels. Also, a strong capital position and robust capital management are key positives. Torchmark now expects net operating income between $4.70 per share and $4.80 per share in 2017 banking on better than expected underwriting income and an increase in investment income, life underwriting income to increase between 2% and 4% while health underwriting income to increase between 1% and 3%. The company has also seen estimates moving north in the last 60 days. However, higher administrative expenses, pension costs and investments in IT systems will likely be a drag on Torchmark’s earnings in the near term. Shares of Torchmark also underperformed the industry year to date.”

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on TMK. BidaskClub downgraded Torchmark Corporation from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, July 24th. Barclays PLC upped their price target on Torchmark Corporation from $65.00 to $67.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a hold rating and set a $75.00 price target on shares of Torchmark Corporation in a report on Friday, May 26th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Torchmark Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $73.00.

Shares of Torchmark Corporation (TMK) opened at 77.53 on Monday. The firm has a market cap of $9.02 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.68 and a beta of 0.98. Torchmark Corporation has a 12-month low of $62.86 and a 12-month high of $79.90. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $77.61 and a 200 day moving average price of $76.95.

Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The insurance provider reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.02. Torchmark Corporation had a return on equity of 11.55% and a net margin of 13.96%. The business had revenue of $1.03 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.03 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.11 earnings per share. Torchmark Corporation’s revenue was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts expect that Torchmark Corporation will post $4.75 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be given a $0.15 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.77%. Torchmark Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently 12.88%.

In other Torchmark Corporation news, VP Arvelia Bowie sold 16,875 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.45, for a total value of $1,323,843.75. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 17,941 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,407,471.45. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Gary L. Coleman sold 37,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.57, for a total value of $2,946,375.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 666,875 shares in the company, valued at approximately $52,396,368.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 137,821 shares of company stock worth $10,837,593. Insiders own 3.79% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of TMK. Strs Ohio boosted its position in Torchmark Corporation by 564.4% in the first quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 10,464 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $806,000 after purchasing an additional 8,889 shares during the last quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. boosted its position in Torchmark Corporation by 6.1% in the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 293,274 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $22,594,000 after purchasing an additional 16,991 shares during the last quarter. Sei Investments Co. boosted its position in Torchmark Corporation by 128.0% in the first quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 43,324 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $3,338,000 after purchasing an additional 24,325 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS boosted its position in Torchmark Corporation by 28.4% in the first quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 8,124 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $626,000 after purchasing an additional 1,798 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State of Wisconsin Investment Board boosted its position in Torchmark Corporation by 17.8% in the first quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 76,483 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $5,892,000 after purchasing an additional 11,558 shares during the last quarter. 71.93% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Torchmark Corporation

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK)

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