Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $64.00 target price on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Hartford Financial’s third-quarter 2019 adjusted operating earnings of $1.50 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 19% and improved 30.4% on higher revenues and Commercial Lines business. Its shares have outperformed its industry in a year's time. Its strategic divestitures pave the way for long-term growth. Its investment results and capital management are impressive. Its results have improved owing to a sturdy underwriting, strong investment performance and lower tax rates. The acquisition of Navigators will expand its Commercial Lines business by enhancing its product offerings and increasing geographical reach. Its decreasing debt level is also impressive. However, it is exposed to catastrophic loss, weighing down its margins. Softness in Personal Lines segment and escalating expenses are other concerns.”

Several other research firms also recently weighed in on HIG. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their target price on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Wednesday. UBS Group lifted their target price on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from $61.00 to $65.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 10th. Buckingham Research lifted their target price on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, July 19th. Evercore ISI upgraded shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from an in-line rating to an outperform rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 16th. Finally, Barclays set a $70.00 target price on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 12th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $63.92.

Shares of HIG traded up $0.09 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $61.09. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,090,048 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,033,708. The company has a market cap of $21.84 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.11, a PEG ratio of 1.18 and a beta of 0.62. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28, a current ratio of 0.29 and a quick ratio of 0.28. The business has a 50 day simple moving average of $58.92 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $56.76. Hartford Financial Services Group has a 52-week low of $40.54 and a 52-week high of $61.63.

Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) last posted its earnings results on Monday, November 4th. The insurance provider reported $1.50 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.26. The firm had revenue of $5.35 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.22 billion. Hartford Financial Services Group had a net margin of 8.66% and a return on equity of 12.69%. The company’s revenue was up 10.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.15 earnings per share. Research analysts predict that Hartford Financial Services Group will post 5.47 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Monday, December 2nd will be paid a dividend of $0.30 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 29th. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.96%. Hartford Financial Services Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 27.71%.

In related news, EVP David C. Robinson sold 4,856 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.86, for a total transaction of $276,112.16. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 17,184 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $977,082.24. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Christopher Swift sold 24,279 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.32, for a total transaction of $1,464,509.28. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 211,218 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $12,740,669.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 71,837 shares of company stock valued at $4,273,875. 1.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Pensionfund DSM Netherlands bought a new stake in Hartford Financial Services Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $2,452,000. Pensionfund Sabic bought a new stake in Hartford Financial Services Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $1,616,000. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. lifted its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 4.4% during the second quarter. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. now owns 46,233 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $2,576,000 after purchasing an additional 1,951 shares during the last quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama lifted its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 0.7% during the second quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 168,582 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $9,393,000 after purchasing an additional 1,197 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. bought a new stake in Hartford Financial Services Group during the second quarter valued at approximately $215,000. 91.62% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Hartford Financial Services Group

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides insurance and financial services to individual and business customers in the United States. Its Commercial Lines segment offers workers' compensation, property, automobile, marine, livestock, liability, and umbrella coverages; and customized insurance products and risk management services, including professional liability, bond, surety, and specialty casualty coverages.

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