AFLAC (AFL) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of AFLAC (NYSE:AFL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Aflac Inc.’s shares have outperformed its industry, in a year's time. the company is poised to grow from recovery in its Japan segment, led by a change in business mix and introduction of new products. Aflac’s U.S. segment is likely to continue performing strongly in the quarters ahead. A solid balance sheet with disciplined capital management is another positive. Favorable earnings guidance for 2019 instills investors' confidence in the company However, its increasing expenses are weighing on margins. Given its investments to speed up development, sales, administration and customer experience related to its products, we expect expenses to rise ahead. Pressure on investment income is another headwind. Nevertheless, .”

A number of other research analysts have also weighed in on AFL. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered AFLAC from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and set a $51.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, January 2nd. ValuEngine raised AFLAC from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 2nd. Finally, SunTrust Banks increased their price target on AFLAC to $48.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Monday, February 4th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $48.67.



Shares of AFLAC stock opened at $48.95 on Friday. AFLAC has a fifty-two week low of $41.45 and a fifty-two week high of $50.66. The firm has a market cap of $37.08 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.77, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.41 and a beta of 0.79. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.25, a quick ratio of 0.06 and a current ratio of 0.06.

AFLAC (NYSE:AFL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 31st. The financial services provider reported $1.02 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.08. AFLAC had a return on equity of 13.62% and a net margin of 13.42%. The company had revenue of $5.48 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.47 billion. Analysts expect that AFLAC will post 4.22 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, insider Masatoshi Koide sold 27,120 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, February 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.71, for a total value of $1,293,895.20. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 52,858 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,521,855.18. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Karole Lloyd bought 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 22nd. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $49.83 per share, for a total transaction of $99,660.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 22,160 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,104,232.80. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 89,244 shares of company stock worth $4,363,557 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of AFLAC by 0.8% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 66,738,143 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,141,364,000 after buying an additional 505,341 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc raised its position in AFLAC by 0.8% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 66,738,143 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,141,364,000 after purchasing an additional 505,341 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in AFLAC by 3.1% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 51,647,878 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,353,074,000 after purchasing an additional 1,557,905 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in AFLAC by 7.5% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 10,367,524 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $471,555,000 after purchasing an additional 724,613 shares during the period. Finally, LSV Asset Management raised its position in AFLAC by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 6,110,739 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $278,405,000 after purchasing an additional 21,722 shares during the period. 68.46% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About AFLAC

Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, provides voluntary supplemental health and life insurance products. It operates through two segments, Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. The Aflac Japan segment offers voluntary supplemental insurance products, including cancer plans, general medical indemnity plans, medical/sickness riders, care plans, living benefit life plans, ordinary life insurance plans, and annuities in Japan.

See Also: Cost of equity and a company’s balance sheet

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