Stock Traders Purchase High Volume of Call Options on Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG)

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) was the recipient of unusually large options trading activity on Monday. Stock traders bought 7,625 call options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 5,548% compared to the average volume of 135 call options.

In related news, insider Martha Gervasi sold 5,039 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.87, for a total transaction of $266,411.93. Following the sale, the insider now owns 15,210 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $804,152.70. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Robert W. Paiano sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $250,000.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 33,342 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,667,100. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 15,039 shares of company stock worth $778,412 in the last three months. Insiders own 1.70% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc raised its position in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 1.2% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 37,098,691 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $1,853,451,000 after purchasing an additional 455,263 shares during the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its position in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 2.8% in the 1st quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 13,015,426 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $647,127,000 after purchasing an additional 351,654 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 3.6% in the 1st quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 5,292,591 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $263,140,000 after purchasing an additional 183,517 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 6.4% in the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 4,916,822 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $244,031,000 after purchasing an additional 294,048 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 20.7% in the 4th quarter. Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. now owns 4,653,359 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $206,842,000 after purchasing an additional 797,185 shares during the last quarter. 91.21% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Hartford Financial Services Group stock traded up $0.58 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $54.21. 2,145,973 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,126,746. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27, a current ratio of 0.32 and a quick ratio of 0.32. Hartford Financial Services Group has a 12 month low of $40.54 and a 12 month high of $54.28. The stock has a market cap of $19.41 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.52, a PEG ratio of 1.10 and a beta of 0.73.

Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, May 1st. The insurance provider reported $1.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.15. Hartford Financial Services Group had a net margin of 9.58% and a return on equity of 12.46%. The company had revenue of $4.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.84 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.27 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Hartford Financial Services Group will post 5.12 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, June 3rd will be given a dividend of $0.30 per share. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.21%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 31st. Hartford Financial Services Group’s payout ratio is 27.71%.

Hartford Financial Services Group announced that its board has approved 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 purchase up to 5.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

A number of research analysts have weighed in on HIG shares. ValuEngine cut shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 5th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 14th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $59.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Friday, May 17th. Barclays boosted their price objective on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group from $55.00 to $57.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Monday, April 1st. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co restated a “hold” rating and issued a $56.00 price target on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group in a report on Thursday, May 2nd. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $57.67.

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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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