Why Is Sun Life (SLF) Down 0.1% Since Last Earnings Report?

A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Sun Life (SLF). Shares have lost about 0.1% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Sun Life due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Sun Life Financial Q2 Earnings Top Estimates, Rise Y/Y

Sun Life Financial Inc. delivered second-quarter 2021 underlying net income of $1.99 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.2%. The bottom line improved 34.1% year over year.  

Underlying net income of $718.7 million (C$883 million) was up 19% year over year. This improvement was driven by business growth, a lower effective tax rate, and favorable credit experience, partially offset by unfavorable impacts of foreign exchange translation, lower investing activity and unfavorable expense experience.

Insurance sales increased 14.7% year over year to $577.9 million (C$710 million), driven by increased sales in Canada and Asia. However, decreased sales in the United States limited the upside. Wealth sales decreased 2.9% year over year to $44.8 billion (C$55 billion) in the quarter under review. Value of new business improved 37.9% to $231.2 million (C$284 million).

Segment Results

SLF Canada’s underlying net income increased 3% year over year to $236 million (C$290 million) driven by favorable credit experience, business growth and policyholder behavior, partially offset by lower investing activity and less favorable mortality experience.

SLF U.S.’ underlying net income was $134 million (C$165 million), up 34% from the prior-year quarter driven by favorable mortality, morbidity and credit experience and higher investing activity, partially offset by unfavorable expense experience and a gain recorded in the prior year arising from the conclusion of a legal matter.

SLF Asset Management’s underlying net income of $253.1 million (C$311 million) increased 20% year over year, driven by higher average net assets (ANA) in MFS, partially offset by higher variable compensation expenses in MFS.

SLF Asia reported underlying net income of $123.7 million (C$152 million), which rose 6% year over year owing to business growth, higher new business gains and favorable credit experience. However, unfavorable expense experience, the impacts of foreign exchange translation, and higher mortality from India joint venture reflected in other experience were partial offsets.

Financial Update  

Global assets under management were 1,100 billion (C$1,361 billion), up 20.3% year over year. Sun Life Assurance’s Minimum Continuing Capital and Surplus Requirements (LICAT) ratio was 125% as Jun 30, 2021, down 200 basis points from the 2020 end level.

The LICAT ratio for Sun Life (including cash and other liquid assets) was 147%, in line with the 2020-end level. Sun Life’s return on equity was 16.3% in the second quarter, up 690 basis points year over year. Underlying ROE of 16% expanded 260 basis points year over year. Leverage ratio of 24.7% deteriorated 120 basis points from the 2020-end level.

Dividend Update

On Aug 4, the company’s board of directors approved a dividend of 55 cents per share. The amount will be paid out on Sep 29, 2021 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Aug 25.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates revision have trended downward during the past month.

VGM Scores

Currently, Sun Life has a poor Growth Score of F, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with a B. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions has been net zero. Notably, Sun Life has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.

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