Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Manulife Financial (NYSE:MFC) (TSE:MFC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday. They currently have $22.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Manulife continues to witness new business volumes, particularly in Asia, and positive net flows in its wealth and asset management businesses, driving long-term earnings growth. It remains on track to achieve more than $100 million in expense synergies. However, declining group benefit sales in Canada segment will weigh on results. Volatile global equity markets coupled with low bond yields has largely affected the company’s capital position. Manulife will lower allocation to alternative long duration assets over the next 12-18 months to free up $2 billion capital. Shares of Manulife underperformed the industry in a year’s time. Also with the new tax structure Manulife will incur $1.9 billion or 96 cents charge per share but net and core earnings might rise by $250 million per year from next year. A Zacks Rank #3 combined with Earnings ESP of -1.94% does not makes us reasonably confident of earnings beat on Feb 7.”

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on MFC. National Bank Financial upgraded Manulife Financial from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 24th. Scotiabank restated a buy rating and set a $31.00 target price on shares of Manulife Financial in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $26.67.

Shares of Manulife Financial (NYSE:MFC) opened at $19.86 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $39,280.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.70, a PEG ratio of 1.02 and a beta of 1.28. Manulife Financial has a 52-week low of $16.62 and a 52-week high of $22.16.

Manulife Financial (NYSE:MFC) (TSE:MFC) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The financial services provider reported $0.43 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.40 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $9.52 billion for the quarter. equities analysts forecast that Manulife Financial will post 1.79 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MFC. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its position in shares of Manulife Financial by 17.7% during the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 58,804 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,103,000 after acquiring an additional 8,823 shares during the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. increased its holdings in Manulife Financial by 17.5% in the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 6,768 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $126,000 after purchasing an additional 1,010 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp increased its holdings in Manulife Financial by 4.2% in the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 2,275,183 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $42,683,000 after purchasing an additional 91,976 shares during the last quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC increased its holdings in Manulife Financial by 11.1% in the second quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 42,128 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $789,000 after purchasing an additional 4,215 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Stifel Financial Corp increased its holdings in Manulife Financial by 53.6% in the second quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 54,450 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,024,000 after purchasing an additional 18,997 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 46.26% of the company’s stock.

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About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) is a holding company of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (MLI), which is a life insurance company, and John Hancock Reassurance Company Ltd. (JHRECO), which is a reinsurance company. The Company operates as a financial services company with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States.

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