AFLAC Incorporated (AFL) Shares Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

AFLAC Incorporated (AFL) Shares Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Aflac’s top line remains exposed to a challenging operating environment, primarily in Japan. Moreover, low interest rates in Japan have led the company to change its business mix by deemphasizing the sales of first-sector products that carry higher premiums and are likely to stifle cash flows from the country. On the back of all these tailwinds, the shares of the company gained 14% in the last one year compared with 21% increase for the Zacks categorized Accident and Health Insurance industry. However, the company’s efforts to increase agent productivity are likely to drive long-term growth. Its strong capital position enables it to buy back shares and increase dividend payouts at regular intervals. The company has been witnessing consistent growth in revenues on the back of solid third sector sales.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on AFL. Deutsche Bank AG restated a “hold” rating on shares of AFLAC in a report on Monday, December 5th. Royal Bank of Canada lowered shares of AFLAC from a “sector perform” rating to an “underperform” rating and cut their price objective for the company from $74.00 to $65.00 in a report on Thursday, December 8th. Evercore ISI upgraded shares of AFLAC from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 11th. Citigroup Inc started coverage on shares of AFLAC in a report on Thursday, January 26th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $73.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of AFLAC from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $71.71 to $75.00 in a report on Monday, February 27th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $71.88.

AFLAC (NYSE:AFL) traded up 1.11% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $72.64. 1,437,198 shares of the stock traded hands. The company has a market capitalization of $29.16 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.31 and a beta of 1.01. AFLAC has a one year low of $62.59 and a one year high of $74.50. The company’s 50 day moving average is $71.52 and its 200 day moving average is $70.81.

AFLAC (NYSE:AFL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 31st. The company reported $1.46 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.63 by $0.17. AFLAC had a net margin of 11.79% and a return on equity of 13.10%. The business earned $6 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.65 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.56 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 12.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that AFLAC will post $6.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, March 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, February 15th were issued a $0.43 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Monday, February 13th. This represents a $1.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.39%. AFLAC’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 26.75%.

In related news, Director Robert B. Johnson sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, February 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.92, for a total transaction of $141,840.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 19,281 shares in the company, valued at $1,367,408.52. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Kenneth S. Janke, Jr. sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.95, for a total transaction of $719,500.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 123,317 shares in the company, valued at $8,872,658.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 44,818 shares of company stock worth $3,194,723. Company insiders own 3.90% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Lbmc Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of AFLAC by 0.4% in the third quarter. Lbmc Investment Advisors LLC now owns 3,041 shares of the company’s stock worth $219,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the last quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of AFLAC by 0.5% in the third quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC now owns 3,840 shares of the company’s stock worth $276,000 after buying an additional 18 shares during the last quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of AFLAC by 0.5% in the third quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 4,841 shares of the company’s stock worth $345,000 after buying an additional 26 shares during the last quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc raised its stake in shares of AFLAC by 0.4% in the third quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc now owns 11,856 shares of the company’s stock worth $852,000 after buying an additional 48 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BerganKDV Wealth Management LLC raised its stake in shares of AFLAC by 0.5% in the third quarter. BerganKDV Wealth Management LLC now owns 11,285 shares of the company’s stock worth $811,000 after buying an additional 56 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.45% of the company’s stock.

AFLAC Company Profile

Aflac Incorporated is a business holding company. The Company is involved in supplemental health and life insurance, which is marketed and administered through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac). The Company’s insurance business consists of two segments: Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S.

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