AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) Sees Significant Growth in Short Interest

AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest in the month of December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 12,040,000 shares, a growth of 11.0% from the December 15th total of 10,850,000 shares. Currently, 1.7% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 2,740,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 4.4 days.

Shares of AFLAC stock traded down $0.16 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $52.34. The stock had a trading volume of 37,734 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,576,686. The firm has a 50 day simple moving average of $53.08 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $53.03. The firm has a market capitalization of $38.22 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.60, a P/E/G ratio of 2.79 and a beta of 0.70. The company has a current ratio of 0.05, a quick ratio of 0.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21. AFLAC has a 1 year low of $45.42 and a 1 year high of $57.18.

AFLAC (NYSE:AFL) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 24th. The financial services provider reported $1.16 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.07 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $5.54 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.52 billion. AFLAC had a return on equity of 12.45% and a net margin of 13.96%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down .7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.03 earnings per share. Sell-side analysts forecast that AFLAC will post 4.42 EPS for the current year.

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded AFLAC from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, January 2nd. Bank of America set a $55.00 price objective on AFLAC and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, October 25th. UBS Group raised their price objective on AFLAC from $51.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, October 10th. Finally, Raymond James cut their price objective on AFLAC from $62.00 to $60.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, December 5th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. AFLAC presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $53.82.

In related news, EVP Audrey B. Tillman sold 24,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.81, for a total transaction of $1,243,440.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 123,414 shares in the company, valued at $6,394,079.34. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Karole Lloyd bought 1,000 shares of AFLAC stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 7th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $54.08 per share, for a total transaction of $54,080.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 28,181 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,524,028.48. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AFL. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of AFLAC during the third quarter worth $25,000. KCS Wealth Advisory bought a new position in AFLAC during the third quarter valued at $27,000. Virtus ETF Advisers LLC bought a new position in AFLAC during the second quarter valued at $32,000. North Star Investment Management Corp. bought a new position in AFLAC during the third quarter valued at $31,000. Finally, Quest Capital Management Inc. ADV bought a new position in AFLAC during the third quarter valued at $47,000. 62.98% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

AFLAC Company Profile

Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiaries, 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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