Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) Hits New 52-Week High at $80.58

Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Tuesday . The company traded as high as $80.58 and last traded at $80.60, with a volume of 754,657 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $79.75.

A number of equities research analysts have issued reports on AFL shares. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Aflac from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $84.00 target price for the company in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Barclays PLC lifted their target price on shares of Aflac from $71.00 to $73.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Monday, July 3rd. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued an “underperform” rating and set a $66.00 target price (up previously from $62.00) on shares of Aflac in a research note on Monday, May 1st. Bank of America Corporation raised shares of Aflac from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and lifted their target price for the company from $75.00 to $78.00 in a research note on Tuesday, July 4th. Finally, BidaskClub lowered shares of Aflac from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $76.50.

The stock has a market capitalization of $31.56 billion, a PE ratio of 12.07 and a beta of 0.99. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $79.13 and a 200-day moving average price of $74.94.

Aflac (NYSE:AFL) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.63 by $0.20. Aflac had a net margin of 11.98% and a return on equity of 13.09%. The company had revenue of $5.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.48 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.65 EPS. Aflac’s quarterly revenue was down .2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts expect that Aflac Incorporated will post $6.69 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 23rd will be given a dividend of $0.43 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, August 21st. This represents a $1.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.15%. Aflac’s payout ratio is presently 25.94%.

Aflac declared that its board has initiated a share buyback plan on Tuesday, August 8th that authorizes the company to buyback 40,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Aflac news, insider Teresa L. White sold 11,314 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.01, for a total transaction of $882,605.14. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 26,847 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,094,334.47. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, President Kriss Cloninger III sold 3,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.06, for a total transaction of $283,710.00. Following the sale, the president now owns 253,196 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $20,524,067.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 240,203 shares of company stock worth $18,612,224 in the last quarter. 3.00% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Atwood & Palmer Inc. raised its stake in shares of Aflac by 320.5% in the second quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc. now owns 1,312 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $102,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. CWM LLC raised its stake in shares of Aflac by 7.7% in the first quarter. CWM LLC now owns 1,400 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $101,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Capital Analysts LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Aflac during the second quarter worth approximately $131,000. Washington Trust Bank raised its stake in shares of Aflac by 0.9% in the second quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 1,704 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $132,000 after buying an additional 16 shares during the period. Finally, Harfst & Associates Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Aflac during the first quarter worth approximately $128,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.59% of the company’s stock.

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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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