Aflac (NYSE:AFL) PT Raised to $72.00 at Morgan Stanley

Aflac (NYSE:AFLGet Rating) had its price target hoisted by Morgan Stanley from $69.00 to $72.00 in a research note released on Thursday, MarketBeat.com reports. The firm currently has an overweight rating on the financial services provider’s stock.

Several other equities analysts have also issued reports on the company. Citigroup lifted their target price on Aflac from $61.00 to $70.00 in a research note on Wednesday, November 16th. StockNews.com initiated coverage on Aflac in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. They issued a hold rating for the company. Raymond James raised their price target on Aflac from $67.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Monday, October 31st. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada raised their price target on Aflac from $66.00 to $68.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a report on Wednesday, November 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat.com, Aflac has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $65.58.

Aflac Stock Performance

Shares of Aflac stock opened at $70.94 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $44.11 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.05, a P/E/G ratio of 2.67 and a beta of 0.93. The company has a current ratio of 0.07, a quick ratio of 0.07 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.31. Aflac has a 12 month low of $52.07 and a 12 month high of $71.93. The stock’s fifty day moving average price is $62.19 and its 200-day moving average price is $59.38.

Aflac (NYSE:AFLGet Rating) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $1.15 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.22 by ($0.07). Aflac had a net margin of 24.16% and a return on equity of 12.53%. The company had revenue of $4.82 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.58 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.53 EPS. Aflac’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Aflac will post 5.25 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Aflac declared that its board has initiated a share repurchase program on Tuesday, November 8th that allows the company to buyback 100,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization allows the financial services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

Aflac Increases Dividend

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 1st. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, February 15th will be given a dividend of $0.42 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 14th. This is a positive change from Aflac’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.40. This represents a $1.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.37%. Aflac’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 20.41%.

Insiders Place Their Bets

In other Aflac news, Director Toshihiko Fukuzawa sold 1,400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.64, for a total transaction of $98,896.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 10,258 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $724,625.12. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. In other news, EVP Eric M. Kirsch sold 28,400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.90, for a total transaction of $2,013,560.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 35,721 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,532,618.90. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Toshihiko Fukuzawa sold 1,400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.64, for a total transaction of $98,896.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 10,258 shares in the company, valued at approximately $724,625.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 30,100 shares of company stock valued at $2,129,547. 1.10% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional Investors Weigh In On Aflac

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Texas Permanent School Fund grew its stake in shares of Aflac by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Texas Permanent School Fund now owns 78,278 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $4,331,000 after purchasing an additional 458 shares during the period. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. grew its stake in Aflac by 6.6% in the 2nd quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 78,506 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,343,000 after acquiring an additional 4,837 shares during the period. Van ECK Associates Corp grew its stake in Aflac by 10.9% in the 1st quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 73,817 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,753,000 after acquiring an additional 7,237 shares during the period. HM Payson & Co. grew its stake in Aflac by 5.5% in the 1st quarter. HM Payson & Co. now owns 170,960 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $11,008,000 after acquiring an additional 8,963 shares during the period. Finally, Southern Capital Advisors LLC grew its stake in Aflac by 10.5% in the 2nd quarter. Southern Capital Advisors LLC now owns 38,612 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,136,000 after acquiring an additional 3,669 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 66.32% of the company’s stock.

Aflac Company Profile

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Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiaries, provides supplemental health and life insurance products. It operates through two segments, Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. The Aflac Japan segment offers cancer, medical, nursing care income support, GIFT, and whole and term life insurance products, as well as WAYS and child endowment plans under saving type insurance products in Japan.

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Analyst Recommendations for Aflac (NYSE:AFL)

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