Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) to Buy

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, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $64.00 price target on the insurance provider’s stock.

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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.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. MKM Partners upped their target price on Hartford Financial Services Group to $70.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, November 5th. Barclays set a $70.00 price target on Hartford Financial Services Group and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 12th. ValuEngine raised Hartford Financial Services Group from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 5th. Royal Bank of Canada upped their price target on Hartford Financial Services Group from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Wednesday. Finally, Morgan Stanley upped their price target on Hartford Financial Services Group from $58.00 to $61.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research note on Thursday, August 15th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $63.92.

NYSE:HIG traded up $0.09 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $61.09. The company had a trading volume of 2,090,048 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,033,708. The company has a current ratio of 0.29, a quick ratio of 0.28 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28. The company has a 50-day moving average of $58.92 and a 200 day moving average of $56.76. The company has a market cap of $21.84 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.11, a P/E/G ratio of 1.18 and a beta of 0.62. Hartford Financial Services Group has a 1 year low of $40.54 and a 1 year high of $61.63.

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

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, January 2nd. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 2nd will be paid a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.96%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 29th. Hartford Financial Services Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 27.71%.

In related news, EVP Martha Gervasi sold 3,672 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.11, for a total transaction of $213,379.92. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 18,882 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,097,233.02. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Robert B. Allardice III sold 9,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.22, for a total value of $553,090.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 21,684 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,262,442.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 71,837 shares of company stock worth $4,273,875. Corporate insiders own 1.70% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Pensionfund DSM Netherlands purchased a new stake in Hartford Financial Services Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $2,452,000. Pensionfund Sabic purchased a new stake in Hartford Financial Services Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $1,616,000. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. increased its holdings in Hartford Financial Services Group by 4.4% during the 2nd quarter. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. now owns 46,233 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $2,576,000 after purchasing an additional 1,951 shares during the period. Retirement Systems of Alabama increased its holdings in Hartford Financial Services Group by 0.7% during the 2nd quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 168,582 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $9,393,000 after purchasing an additional 1,197 shares during the period. Finally, First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. purchased a new stake in Hartford Financial Services Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $215,000. 91.62% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Hartford Financial Services Group Company Profile

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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Analyst Recommendations for Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG)

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