Aflac Incorporated (AFL) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Aflac’s shares have gained 11.4% outperforming the Zacks categorized Accident and Health Insurance industry's increase of 10.4% year to date. The company's efforts to increase agent productivity, emphasis on sale of third-sector products, pull back on sale of first-sector products, introduction of new product like cancer insurance are likely to drive long-term growth. Its strong capital position enables it to buy back shares and increase dividend payouts. However, it remains exposed to a challenging operating environment, primarily in Japan. Moreover, its U.S. business has been facing stiff competition in the middle market, which in turn, has been denting its sales. In 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, the company recorded disappointing U.S. sales figures.”

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on AFL. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated an underperform rating and issued a $66.00 target price (up from $62.00) on shares of Aflac in a report on Monday, May 1st. J P Morgan Chase & Co lifted their target price on Aflac from $75.00 to $77.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a report on Monday, April 3rd. Barclays PLC lifted their target price on Aflac from $71.00 to $73.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Monday, July 3rd. Vetr upgraded Aflac from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $77.50 target price for the company in a report on Tuesday, April 18th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG lifted their target price on Aflac from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $75.55.

Shares of Aflac (NYSE:AFL) traded down 0.37% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $77.69. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 653,150 shares. The firm has a market cap of $30.83 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.64 and a beta of 0.99. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $76.01 and a 200 day moving average of $72.67. Aflac has a 12-month low of $66.50 and a 12-month high of $79.86.

Aflac (NYSE:AFL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.67 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.62 by $0.05. Aflac had a return on equity of 12.82% and a net margin of 11.24%. The business had revenue of $5.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.40 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.74 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Aflac will post $6.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, President Kriss Cloninger III sold 2,500 shares of Aflac stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.72, for a total transaction of $194,300.00. Following the sale, the president now owns 241,646 shares in the company, valued at $18,780,727.12. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Teresa L. White sold 11,314 shares of Aflac stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.01, for a total value of $882,605.14. Following the sale, the insider now owns 26,847 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,094,334.47. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 236,703 shares of company stock worth $18,328,514. 3.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Toth Financial Advisory Corp boosted its stake in Aflac by 2.1% in the first quarter. Toth Financial Advisory Corp now owns 52,979 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,837,000 after buying an additional 1,099 shares during the period. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund purchased a new stake in Aflac during the fourth quarter worth approximately $920,000. Kentucky Retirement Systems purchased a new stake in Aflac during the fourth quarter worth approximately $2,061,000. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Aflac by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 794,930 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $55,327,000 after buying an additional 2,226 shares during the period. Finally, Pegasus Partners Ltd. boosted its stake in Aflac by 16.4% in the fourth quarter. Pegasus Partners Ltd. now owns 9,822 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $684,000 after buying an additional 1,387 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.11% 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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Analyst Recommendations for Aflac (NYSE:AFL)

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