Lincoln National Corporation (LNC) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $75.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Lincoln National is well positioned for long-term growth, given its focus on reducing exposure to business with long-term guarantee. The company also remains immune to the  rule proposed by the DOL. Its strong capital position is another positive. Moreover, the company has a solid balance sheet owing to prudent capital deployment and improvement in book value. In 2016, the company's share price has also outperfrmed the Zacks categorized Life Insurance industry. The stock has also witnessed an increase in Zacks Consensus earnings estimate for 2016 over the past 90 days. However, the company’s growth has been restricted by economic volatility, softness in Group Protection segment, intense competition and a low interest rate environment that has weakened net flows, annuities and investment yields.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $78.00 price target on shares of Lincoln National Corporation in a report on Monday. Morgan Stanley downgraded Lincoln National Corporation from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and upped their price target for the company from $60.00 to $71.00 in a report on Wednesday, December 14th. FBR & Co downgraded Lincoln National Corporation from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $55.00 price target for the company. in a report on Wednesday, November 9th. Wells Fargo & Company started coverage on Lincoln National Corporation in a report on Friday, September 23rd. They issued a market perform rating for the company. Finally, Credit Suisse Group started coverage on Lincoln National Corporation in a report on Friday, October 7th. They issued a neutral rating and a $57.00 price target for the company. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $60.07.

Analyst Recommendations for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC)

Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) traded up 0.54% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $67.52. 1,034,214 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $66.34 and a 200 day moving average of $51.69. Lincoln National Corporation has a 1-year low of $30.39 and a 1-year high of $69.49. The firm has a market capitalization of $15.43 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.76 and a beta of 2.11.

Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 3rd. The company reported $1.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.61 by $0.28. The firm earned $3.53 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.43 billion. Lincoln National Corporation had a return on equity of 9.89% and a net margin of 9.63%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 5.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.65 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that Lincoln National Corporation will post $6.39 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, February 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, January 10th will be given a $0.29 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, January 6th. This represents a $1.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.73%. This is a boost from Lincoln National Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.25. Lincoln National Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 21.85%.

In other news, CEO Dennis R. Glass sold 349,532 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.01, for a total value of $18,179,159.32. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Mark E. Konen sold 154,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.62, for a total value of $9,027,480.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 190,411 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,161,892.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.41% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in LNC. Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new position in shares of Lincoln National Corporation during the second quarter worth $84,522,000. Bloom Tree Partners LLC purchased a new position in shares of Lincoln National Corporation during the third quarter worth $37,376,000. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC boosted its position in shares of Lincoln National Corporation by 114.2% in the second quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC now owns 1,224,586 shares of the company’s stock worth $47,477,000 after buying an additional 652,965 shares in the last quarter. Scout Investments Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Lincoln National Corporation during the third quarter worth $26,758,000. Finally, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company purchased a new position in shares of Lincoln National Corporation during the third quarter worth $23,244,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.86% of the company’s stock.

About Lincoln National Corporation

Lincoln National Corporation is a holding company, which operates insurance and retirement businesses through subsidiary companies. The Company sells a range of wealth protection, accumulation and retirement income products and solutions, through its business segments. It operates through four segments: Annuities segment, which offers fixed (including indexed) and variable annuities; Retirement Plan Services segment, which provides employers with retirement plan products and services; Life Insurance segment, which focuses in the creation and protection of wealth through life insurance products, and Group Protection, which offers principally group non-medical insurance products.

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