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 note published on Tuesday morning. Zacks Investment Research 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.”

Several other research firms also recently weighed in on SLF. Morgan Stanley increased their target price on Sun Life Financial from $52.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research report on Thursday, October 5th. BidaskClub upgraded Sun Life Financial from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Saturday, August 19th. TD Securities upped their price target on Sun Life Financial from $50.00 to $51.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, August 10th. Bank of America Corporation upgraded Sun Life Financial from an underperform rating to a hold rating in a research note on Monday, July 10th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Sun Life Financial from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Ten analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Sun Life Financial has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $50.00.

Shares of Sun Life Financial (SLF) opened at 39.63 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $24.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.47 and a beta of 0.88. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $39.10 and its 200-day moving average price is $36.58. Sun Life Financial has a 12 month low of $32.22 and a 12 month high of $40.57.

Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 9th. The financial services provider reported $0.83 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ 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 for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $7.36 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.90 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 14.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict that Sun Life Financial will post $3.29 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 29th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, August 30th were paid a dividend of $0.3439 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, August 28th. This is a positive change from Sun Life Financial’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. This represents a $1.38 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.47%. Sun Life Financial’s dividend payout ratio is currently 43.85%.

Sun Life Financial announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program on Wednesday, August 9th that permits the company to buyback 11,500,000 shares. This buyback authorization permits the financial services provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in SLF. Jones Collombin Investment Counsel Inc grew its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 20.2% in 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 in the last quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC grew its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 147.6% in 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 in the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. grew its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 24.8% in 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 in the last quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors acquired a new stake in shares of Sun Life Financial in the second quarter valued at about $162,000. Finally, Advisory Services Network LLC grew its stake in shares of Sun Life Financial by 0.7% in 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 in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 40.90% of the company’s stock.

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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF)

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