Contrasting Symetra Financial (SYA) & Unum Group (UNM)

Symetra Financial (NYSE: SYA) and Unum Group (NYSE:UNM) are both financials companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, earnings, risk, dividends, profitability, institutional ownership and valuation.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Symetra Financial and Unum Group, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Symetra Financial 0 0 0 0 N/A
Unum Group 2 7 2 0 2.00

Unum Group has a consensus target price of $55.30, indicating a potential downside of 5.62%. Given Unum Group’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Unum Group is more favorable than Symetra Financial.

Profitability

This table compares Symetra Financial and Unum Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Symetra Financial 3.63% 2.50% 0.23%
Unum Group 8.67% 10.37% 1.52%

Insider & Institutional Ownership

91.8% of Unum Group shares are held by institutional investors. 0.5% of Unum Group shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Symetra Financial and Unum Group’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Symetra Financial N/A N/A N/A $1.36 23.54
Unum Group $11.05 billion 1.19 $931.40 million $4.26 13.75

Unum Group has higher revenue and earnings than Symetra Financial. Unum Group is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Symetra Financial, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Symetra Financial pays an annual dividend of $0.44 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.4%. Unum Group pays an annual dividend of $0.92 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.6%. Symetra Financial pays out 32.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Unum Group pays out 21.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Unum Group has increased its dividend for 9 consecutive years. Unum Group is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Summary

Unum Group beats Symetra Financial on 12 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Symetra Financial

Symetra Financial Corporation is a financial services company in the life insurance industry. The Company’s products are distributed domestically in all states and the District of Columbia through benefits consultants, financial institutions, broker-dealers and independent agents and advisers. It has three divisions: Benefits Division, Retirement Division and Individual Life Division. The Company’s Benefits Division provides medical stop-loss insurance, group life and disability income (DI) insurance, and limited benefit medical insurance as its principal products. The Company’s Retirement Division provides products that help its customers prepare for retirement and includes the Deferred Annuities and Income Annuities segments. The Company’s Individual Life division sells life insurance products.

About Unum Group

Unum Group is a provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Company’s products include disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision, and other related services. Its segments include Unum US, Unum UK, Colonial Life, Closed Block and Corporate. Its Unum US segment includes group long-term and short-term disability insurance, group life and accidental death and dismemberment products, and supplemental and voluntary lines of business. Its Unum UK segment includes insurance for group long-term disability, group life, and supplemental lines of business, which include dental, individual disability and critical illness products. Its Colonial Life segment includes insurance for accident, sickness, and disability products, life products, and cancer and critical illness products issued primarily by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company and marketed to employees. Its Closed Block segment consists of other insurance products.

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