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Raymond James cuts FBL Financial on lack of near-term catalysts

Raymond James analyst C. Gregory Peters downgraded his call on the shares of FBL Financial Group Inc. to "underperform" from "market perform," citing the stock's relative premium valuation and lack of near-term catalysts.

Peters said the outlook for the company still includes spread compression and an "increasingly competitive" annuity sales environment, although the company's second-quarter results were ahead of his target. Despite the downgrade, the analyst believes that it is possible for the stock to become interesting again later in 2019 when there is more visibility into whether the company will offer special dividend in the first quarter of 2020.

The analyst maintained his 2019 operating EPS estimate for the company at $4.80 and lowered his 2020 operating EPS projection to $4.90 from $5.00.