Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL)’s share price reached a new 52-week high during trading on Tuesday . The stock traded as high as $83.55 and last traded at $83.56, with a volume of 560,467 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $83.15.

A number of equities analysts have recently issued reports on AFL shares. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Aflac from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 31st. Barclays PLC increased their price objective 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. Bank of America Corporation upgraded shares of Aflac from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $75.00 to $78.00 in a research note on Tuesday, July 4th. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “sell” rating and issued a $66.00 price objective on shares of Aflac in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Finally, FBR & Co restated a “market perform” rating and issued a $80.00 price objective (up previously from $68.00) on shares of Aflac in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. Aflac currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $77.23.

The stock has a market cap of $33.01 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.63 and a beta of 0.97. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $81.25 and a 200-day moving average of $76.60.

Aflac (NYSE:AFL) last posted its quarterly earnings data 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 period last year, the company earned $1.65 earnings per share. The firm’s 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 firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 23rd were given a $0.43 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, August 21st. This represents a $1.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.07%. Aflac’s payout ratio is presently 25.94%.

Aflac announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Tuesday, August 8th that permits the company to buyback 40,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization permits the financial services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, President Kriss Cloninger III sold 3,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.06, for a total transaction of $283,710.00. Following the completion of the sale, the president now owns 253,196 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $20,524,067.76. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Teresa L. White sold 11,314 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.01, for a total transaction of $882,605.14. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 26,847 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,094,334.47. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 3.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Aflac by 3.4% during the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 31,980,927 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $2,316,059,000 after acquiring an additional 1,048,415 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Aflac by 1,750.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 23,849,668 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,727,193,000 after buying an additional 22,561,116 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its stake in shares of Aflac by 2.4% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 21,858,806 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,583,023,000 after buying an additional 505,060 shares during the period. FMR LLC increased its stake in shares of Aflac by 11.6% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 7,106,003 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $551,994,000 after buying an additional 736,703 shares during the period. Finally, AQR Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Aflac by 4.1% in the first quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 4,390,534 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $317,962,000 after buying an additional 173,236 shares during the period. 65.63% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Aflac

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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