Traders Buy Shares of Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG) on Weakness

Traders purchased shares of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) on weakness during trading on Friday. $21.86 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $6.38 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $15.48 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Hartford Financial Services Group had the 26th highest net in-flow for the day. Hartford Financial Services Group traded down ($0.07) for the day and closed at $49.93

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on HIG shares. Barclays increased their price target on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from $55.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Monday. ValuEngine raised shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, February 8th. Compass Point initiated coverage on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group in a research note on Tuesday, January 15th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $58.00 price objective for the company. TheStreet raised shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 14th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $53.00 price objective on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 13th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Hartford Financial Services Group currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $56.77.

The stock has a market cap of $17.87 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.53, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.05 and a beta of 0.72. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, a quick ratio of 0.32 and a current ratio of 0.32.

Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 4th. The insurance provider reported $0.78 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.13. The business had revenue of $4.63 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.73 billion. Hartford Financial Services Group had a net margin of 9.53% and a return on equity of 12.31%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.81 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Hartford Financial Services Group Inc will post 4.99 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, March 4th were given a dividend of $0.30 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, March 1st. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.40%. Hartford Financial Services Group’s payout ratio is currently 27.71%.

Hartford Financial Services Group announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan on Monday, February 4th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the insurance provider to buy up to 5.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, CEO Christopher Swift acquired 11,423 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 10th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $43.73 per share, for a total transaction of $499,527.79. Following the acquisition, the chief executive officer now owns 135,389 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,920,560.97. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP David C. Robinson sold 2,392 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.35, for a total transaction of $110,869.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. increased its stake in Hartford Financial Services Group by 11.7% during the 4th quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 2,140 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $95,000 after purchasing an additional 224 shares in the last quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 20.0% during the 4th quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 1,553 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $69,000 after acquiring an additional 259 shares during the last quarter. Shelton Capital Management boosted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 7.1% during the 4th quarter. Shelton Capital Management now owns 4,522 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $201,000 after acquiring an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. Vista Investment Management boosted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 2.5% during the 4th quarter. Vista Investment Management now owns 12,669 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $563,000 after acquiring an additional 310 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wunderlich Capital Managemnt boosted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 0.9% during the 4th quarter. Wunderlich Capital Managemnt now owns 33,696 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,498,000 after acquiring an additional 310 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.89% of the company’s stock.

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Hartford Financial Services Group Company Profile (NYSE:HIG)

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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