Will This Upgrade Help Lincoln National (LNC) Stock Today?

Story updated at 10 a.m.to reflect market activity.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Lincoln National (LNC) was upgraded to "overweight" from "equal-weight" by Barclays Wednesday.

Lincoln National gained 1.7% to $47.24 in morning trading.

The firm set a price target of $59 for the insurance provider. Barclays analysts said the upgrade is due increased confidence in the Lincoln National's ability to generate strong earnings growth and ROE.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP (LNC) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, attractive valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 12.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 42.35% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, LNC should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 13.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.53 versus $4.46 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.40 versus $4.53).
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: LNC Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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