Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lincoln National (NYSE:LNC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Thursday. They currently have $72.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, ” Lincoln National is poised to grow on the back of its increasing top line, strong performance of the Life Insurance Segment, Annuities and Group Protection business. It has also streamlined its business by axing unprofitable and non-core lines. However, increased expense, driven by investment in technology, will dent margins for the next several quarters. High leverage is another cause for concern. Shares of the company have lost value in a year's time but have fared better than the industry. Lincoln National’s earnings of $2.34 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.8% and grew 15.3% year over year, mainly led by double-digit earnings growth across all business lines as well as strategic investments such as Liberty acquisition. Earnings were also supported by the company’s operational efficiency and disciplined capital management.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on LNC. ValuEngine raised shares of Lincoln National from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Thursday, July 26th. Morgan Stanley reduced their price objective on shares of Lincoln National from $76.00 to $74.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, November 13th. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a buy rating and issued a $82.00 price objective on shares of Lincoln National in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upgraded shares of Lincoln National from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $80.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, November 5th. Finally, Deutsche Bank reduced their price objective on shares of Lincoln National from $74.00 to $73.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research note on Monday, November 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Lincoln National currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $76.85.

NYSE:LNC opened at $63.02 on Thursday. The company has a current ratio of 0.19, a quick ratio of 0.19 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39. The company has a market capitalization of $13.46 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.09 and a beta of 1.90. Lincoln National has a 12 month low of $57.06 and a 12 month high of $86.68.

Lincoln National (NYSE:LNC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $2.34 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.17 by $0.17. The company had revenue of $4.26 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.25 billion. Lincoln National had a net margin of 13.14% and a return on equity of 11.61%. Lincoln National’s revenue was up 21.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.87 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Lincoln National will post 8.56 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, January 10th will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. This is a positive change from Lincoln National’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.33. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.35%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, January 9th. Lincoln National’s payout ratio is 16.94%.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Lincoln National by 3.2% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 19,580,560 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,218,887,000 after acquiring an additional 610,043 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its stake in Lincoln National by 59.7% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 11,919,511 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $806,475,000 after purchasing an additional 4,457,743 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC lifted its stake in Lincoln National by 0.3% in the third quarter. FMR LLC now owns 5,714,564 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $386,648,000 after purchasing an additional 18,561 shares during the last quarter. LSV Asset Management lifted its stake in Lincoln National by 0.3% in the third quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 5,671,951 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $383,764,000 after purchasing an additional 16,202 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Lyrical Asset Management LP lifted its stake in Lincoln National by 5.1% in the third quarter. Lyrical Asset Management LP now owns 5,068,451 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $342,931,000 after purchasing an additional 247,509 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 82.85% of the company’s stock.

About Lincoln National

Lincoln National Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates multiple insurance and retirement businesses in the United States. It operates through four segments: Annuities, Retirement Plan Services, Life Insurance, and Group Protection. The company sells a range of wealth protection, accumulation, and retirement income products and solutions.

Recommended Story: Fundamental Analysis

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Lincoln National (LNC)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Lincoln National (NYSE:LNC)

Receive News & Ratings for Lincoln National Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Lincoln National and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.