Stock Traders Buy Large Volume of Call Options on Aflac (AFL)

Aflac (NYSE:AFL) was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders acquired 36,241 call options on the company. This represents an increase of 2,953% compared to the average volume of 1,187 call options.

Several equities analysts recently commented on AFL shares. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Aflac from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 28th. Raymond James raised shares of Aflac from an “outperform” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $44.00 to $50.00 in a research report on Monday, January 22nd. Citigroup raised shares of Aflac to a “strong-buy” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $44.00 to $50.00 in a research report on Monday, January 22nd. Sandler O’Neill reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $47.00 price objective on shares of Aflac in a research report on Thursday, April 5th. Finally, UBS started coverage on shares of Aflac in a research report on Friday, March 2nd. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $49.00 price objective for the company. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.46.

Shares of Aflac opened at $45.53 on Friday, according to MarketBeat Ratings. The company has a market cap of $35.15 billion, a PE ratio of 12.56, a PEG ratio of 1.76 and a beta of 0.94. Aflac has a 12 month low of $44.95 and a 12 month high of $45.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.22, a quick ratio of 0.05 and a current ratio of 0.05.

Aflac (NYSE:AFL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 25th. The financial services provider reported $1.05 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.97 by $0.08. Aflac had a net margin of 20.61% and a return on equity of 12.39%. The business had revenue of $5.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.48 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.47 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 2.9% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that Aflac will post 3.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, May 23rd will be paid a $0.26 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, May 22nd. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.28%. Aflac’s dividend payout ratio is currently 30.59%.

In related news, insider June P. Howard sold 2,648 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $90.33, for a total value of $239,193.84. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Charles B. Knapp sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.72, for a total transaction of $437,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 76,582 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,348,165.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.00% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Creative Planning grew its stake in Aflac by 2.0% in the 4th quarter. Creative Planning now owns 97,049 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $8,519,000 after acquiring an additional 1,906 shares during the period. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Aflac by 5.1% during the 4th quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 59,350 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $5,210,000 after purchasing an additional 2,890 shares during the last quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc boosted its stake in Aflac by 172.1% during the 4th quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc now owns 515,792 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $45,299,000 after purchasing an additional 326,261 shares during the last quarter. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in Aflac during the 4th quarter worth $1,080,000. Finally, Commerce Bank boosted its stake in Aflac by 0.4% during the 4th quarter. Commerce Bank now owns 317,814 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $27,897,000 after purchasing an additional 1,335 shares during the last quarter. 41.95% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Aflac Company Profile

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.

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