Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG) Upgraded to “Buy” 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 report sent to investors on Monday morning. They currently have $56.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Hartford Financial’s shares have lost year to date, wider than its industry's decline. However, its solid fundamentals rae likely to help its shares bounce back going forward. The company has also witnessed its 2018 estimate move up over the past seven days. Strategic initiatives pave the way for long-term growth. Moreover, the company’s investment results are impressive on the back of recent interest rate hikes. Its prudent capital management also remains a positive. The company’s performance has improved owing to a sturdy underwriting, strong investment performance and lower tax rates. It has also reduced its long-term debt level effectively. However, the company is severely exposed to catastrophic loss. Moreover, softness in Personal Lines segment remains a major headwind.”

HIG has been the topic of several other research reports. Evercore ISI initiated coverage on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group in a report on Thursday, June 7th. They issued an inline rating and a $57.00 target price on the stock. Citigroup boosted their price objective on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from $55.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, May 1st. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Thursday, August 2nd. B. Riley boosted their price objective on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from $52.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Tuesday, August 7th. Finally, TheStreet raised shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a c rating to a b rating in a report on Thursday, July 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $58.73.

Shares of NYSE:HIG opened at $50.74 on Monday. The stock has a market capitalization of $17.92 billion, a PE ratio of 18.47, a PEG ratio of 1.11 and a beta of 0.98. The company has a current ratio of 0.29, a quick ratio of 0.29 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34. Hartford Financial Services Group has a fifty-two week low of $49.67 and a fifty-two week high of $59.20.

Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 26th. The insurance provider reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.02 by $0.11. The business had revenue of $4.79 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.63 billion. Hartford Financial Services Group had a negative net margin of 12.24% and a positive return on equity of 9.84%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 13.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.81 earnings per share. equities analysts predict that Hartford Financial Services Group will post 4.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 4th will be issued a dividend of $0.30 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 31st. This represents a $1.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.36%. This is an increase from Hartford Financial Services Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.25. Hartford Financial Services Group’s payout ratio is currently 36.50%.

In other Hartford Financial Services Group news, EVP David C. Robinson sold 2,395 shares of Hartford Financial Services Group stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.88, for a total transaction of $126,647.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 21,398 shares in the company, valued at $1,131,526.24. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Beth Ann Bombara sold 23,906 shares of Hartford Financial Services Group stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.63, for a total transaction of $1,258,172.78. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 52,291 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,752,075.33. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 4.1% during the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 6,495,814 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $332,131,000 after acquiring an additional 257,968 shares during the last quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 838.8% during the second quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 80,906 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $4,137,000 after acquiring an additional 72,288 shares during the last quarter. Andra AP fonden acquired a new position in Hartford Financial Services Group during the second quarter worth about $8,089,000. Global X Management Co LLC raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 14.6% during the second quarter. Global X Management Co LLC now owns 10,373 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $530,000 after acquiring an additional 1,324 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Verition Fund Management LLC raised its position in Hartford Financial Services Group by 25.2% during the second quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC now owns 36,177 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $1,850,000 after acquiring an additional 7,274 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 89.49% of the company’s stock.

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. It operates through five segments: Commercial Lines, Personal Lines, Property & Casualty Other Operations, Group Benefits, and Mutual Funds.

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