Manulife Financial (NYSE:MFC) (TSE:MFC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $19.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 13.77% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Manulife Financial’s third-quarter 2018 earnings improved year over year on double-digit core earnings growth across Asia and the United States plus a strong uptick in Global Wealth and Asset Management segments and also owing to solid net income. Year to date, shares of Manulife have outperformed its industry’s decline as the stock’s loss was narrower. The life insurer continues to witness new business volumes, particularly in Asia and positive net flows in its wealth and asset management businesses, boosting long-term earnings growth. The company is hell bent on optimizing its portfolio with an objective to release $5 billion in capital by 2022. It is also targeting an expense efficiency ratio of less than 50% or $1 billion in expense savings by 2022. However, the company’s declining group benefit sales in Canada segment will weigh on its results.”

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on MFC. Desjardins reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Manulife Financial in a research note on Tuesday, October 16th. TheStreet downgraded shares of Manulife Financial from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research note on Monday, October 15th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Manulife Financial from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 2nd. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Manulife Financial in a research note on Friday, November 9th. Finally, TD Securities reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Manulife Financial in a research note on Thursday, November 8th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. Manulife Financial presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $24.33.

Shares of NYSE MFC opened at $16.70 on Monday. Manulife Financial has a 1-year low of $14.99 and a 1-year high of $22.16. The stock has a market capitalization of $33.14 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.77, a P/E/G ratio of 0.80 and a beta of 1.31.

Manulife Financial (NYSE:MFC) (TSE:MFC) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The financial services provider reported $0.75 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.50 by $0.25. The company had revenue of $6.15 billion during the quarter. Manulife Financial had a net margin of 5.49% and a return on equity of 13.70%. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.53 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Manulife Financial will post 2.08 EPS for the current year.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its holdings in Manulife Financial by 123.4% during the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 11,548,947 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $210,529,000 after purchasing an additional 6,379,595 shares during the period. Nordea Investment Management AB acquired a new position in Manulife Financial during the third quarter valued at approximately $91,402,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its holdings in Manulife Financial by 629.2% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 3,599,207 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $64,654,000 after purchasing an additional 3,105,627 shares during the period. Hsbc Holdings PLC grew its holdings in Manulife Financial by 455.6% during the third quarter. Hsbc Holdings PLC now owns 3,587,530 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $64,209,000 after purchasing an additional 2,941,868 shares during the period. Finally, Schroder Investment Management Group grew its holdings in Manulife Financial by 530.7% during the third quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 3,343,385 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $78,375,000 after purchasing an additional 2,813,292 shares during the period. 46.02% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Manulife Financial Company Profile

Manulife Financial Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides financial advice, insurance, and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups, and institutions in Asia, Canada, and the United States. The company offers individual life, and individual and group long-term care insurance through insurance agents, brokers, banks, financial planners, and direct marketing.

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