Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG)’s share price reached a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Thursday after Barclays raised their price target on the stock from $57.00 to $62.00. Barclays currently has an overweight rating on the stock. Hartford Financial Services Group traded as high as $54.28 and last traded at $53.32, with a volume of 2058012 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $54.21.

Several other research firms have also recently issued reports on HIG. Zacks Investment Research cut Hartford Financial Services Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 8th. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $56.00 price objective on shares of Hartford Financial Services Group in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. ValuEngine raised Hartford Financial Services Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, February 8th. Finally, TheStreet raised Hartford Financial Services Group from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 14th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $57.67.

In other news, insider Martha Gervasi sold 5,039 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.87, for a total transaction of $266,411.93. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 15,210 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $804,152.70. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Robert W. Paiano sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.40, for a total value of $262,000.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 33,342 shares in the company, valued at $1,747,120.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 15,039 shares of company stock worth $778,412 over the last three months. Insiders own 1.70% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 1.2% during 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 buying an additional 455,263 shares during the period. Wellington Management Group LLP lifted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 2.8% during 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 buying an additional 351,654 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 3.6% during 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 buying an additional 183,517 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 6.4% during 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 buying an additional 294,048 shares during the period. Finally, Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Hartford Financial Services Group by 20.7% during 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 buying an additional 797,185 shares during the period. 89.07% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

The firm has a market cap of $19.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.30, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.10 and a beta of 0.73. 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 (NYSE:HIG) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 1st. The insurance provider reported $1.39 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.15. The firm had revenue of $4.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.84 billion. Hartford Financial Services Group had a return on equity of 12.46% and a net margin of 9.58%. The company’s revenue was up 5.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.27 EPS. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Hartford Financial Services Group Inc will post 5.12 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 3rd will be paid a $0.30 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 31st. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.25%. Hartford Financial Services Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 27.71%.

Hartford Financial Services Group announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Monday, February 4th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the insurance provider to repurchase up to 5.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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About Hartford Financial Services Group (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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