Torchmark (TMK) Lifted to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Thursday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Torchmark have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Torchmark’s niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth. The insurer estimates life and health sales growth in distribution channels. Also, a strong capital position and capital management are its key positives. Torchmark expects net operating income between $6.50 and $6.70 per share in 2019. Life underwriting income is expected to grow around 3% to 5% and health underwriting income is likely to increase 2% to 4%. However, Torchmark’s administrative expenses are estimated to increase 4-5% in 2019 (6.5% of premium). Pension costs, investments in IT systems and high debt level are likely to be a drag on earnings. The company has seen its estimates for 2019 and 2020 move south in the last 30 days.”

A number of other research analysts also recently commented on the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised Torchmark from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 2nd. ValuEngine raised Torchmark from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 2nd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $82.75.

NYSE TMK traded up $0.41 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $85.43. 218,089 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 543,931. Torchmark has a 1-year low of $69.68 and a 1-year high of $89.62. The company has a quick ratio of 0.06, a current ratio of 0.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25. The firm has a market cap of $9.29 billion, a PE ratio of 13.94, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 1.00.

Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 5th. The insurance provider reported $1.56 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.56. Torchmark had a return on equity of 12.66% and a net margin of 16.32%. The firm had revenue of $1.07 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.09 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.24 EPS. Torchmark’s quarterly revenue was up .8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that Torchmark will post 6.6 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, CFO Frank M. Svoboda sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.72, for a total value of $1,240,800.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 121,533 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,053,209.76. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Gary L. Coleman sold 12,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.60, for a total value of $1,003,200.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 661,547 shares in the company, valued at approximately $55,305,329.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 92,010 shares of company stock worth $7,612,561. Company insiders own 3.64% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its holdings in shares of Torchmark by 1.7% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 12,664,337 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,097,870,000 after purchasing an additional 210,422 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Torchmark by 10.2% in the 4th quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,820,235 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $210,192,000 after purchasing an additional 260,809 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Torchmark by 6.6% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,457,051 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $108,420,000 after purchasing an additional 89,972 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its holdings in shares of Torchmark by 1.2% in the 4th quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,254,449 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $93,493,000 after purchasing an additional 15,138 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Acadian Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Torchmark by 12.5% in the 4th quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 1,147,662 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $85,534,000 after purchasing an additional 127,369 shares during the last quarter. 76.65% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Torchmark Company Profile

Torchmark Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides various life and health insurance products, and annuities in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. It operates through four segments: Life Insurance, Health Insurance, Annuity, and Investment. The company offers traditional and interest-sensitive whole life insurance, as well as term life insurance.

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