Torchmark (TMK) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Tuesday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $98.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Torchmark’s shares have outperformed the industry in a year. The company's niche market focus, steady capital deployment and strong operating fundamentals should drive long-term growth. It estimates life and health sales growth in distribution channels. Also, a strong capital position and capital management are positives. The company estimates free cash flow in the range of $365-$375 million and net operating income between $6.61 and $6.75 per share in 2019. Life underwriting income is expected to grow around 4-6% (up from 3-5%) and health underwriting income is likely to increase 3-5% (up from 2-4%). However, higher administrative expense remains a concern. It is estimated to increase 5-6% in 2019. Pension costs, investments in IT systems and high debt level along with lower interest coverage ratio are likely to be a drag on earnings.”

Shares of NYSE TMK opened at $88.82 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $9.67 billion, a PE ratio of 14.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.65 and a beta of 1.01. Torchmark has a 1 year low of $69.68 and a 1 year high of $91.28. The company has a quick ratio of 0.06, a current ratio of 0.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.22.

Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 17th. The insurance provider reported $1.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.59 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $1.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.11 billion. Torchmark had a net margin of 16.37% and a return on equity of 12.75%. The business’s revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.47 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Torchmark will post 6.69 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, July 5th will be issued a dividend of $0.1725 per share. This represents a $0.69 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.78%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, July 3rd. Torchmark’s dividend payout ratio is currently 11.26%.

In related news, Director Robert W. Ingram sold 290 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $87.85, for a total transaction of $25,476.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Larry M. Hutchison sold 12,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, April 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $87.05, for a total transaction of $1,044,600.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 610,510 shares in the company, valued at $53,144,895.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 262,632 shares of company stock valued at $22,570,023 over the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 3.64% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Oakworth Capital Inc. boosted its holdings in Torchmark by 7.1% during the fourth quarter. Oakworth Capital Inc. now owns 26,832 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $2,000,000 after purchasing an additional 1,786 shares during the last quarter. Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd. boosted its holdings in Torchmark by 20.0% during the first quarter. Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd. now owns 51,994 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $4,261,000 after purchasing an additional 8,650 shares during the last quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio boosted its holdings in Torchmark by 33.0% during the fourth quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 90,296 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $6,730,000 after purchasing an additional 22,382 shares during the last quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC purchased a new position in Torchmark during the fourth quarter worth about $1,143,000. Finally, Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund boosted its holdings in Torchmark by 55.1% during the fourth quarter. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund now owns 59,087 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $4,404,000 after purchasing an additional 21,000 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.56% of the company’s stock.

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.

Recommended Story: What is a growth and income fund?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Torchmark (TMK)

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

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