Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) saw a significant drop in short interest in the month of October. As of October 30th, there was short interest totalling 8,590,000 shares, a drop of 13.5% from the October 15th total of 9,930,000 shares. Approximately 1.3% of the company's stock are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 3,750,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.3 days.
A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of AFL. Ninety One UK Ltd lifted its position in Aflac by 1,156.1% during the second quarter. Ninety One UK Ltd now owns 2,660,211 shares of the financial services provider's stock valued at $140,725,000 after purchasing an additional 2,448,431 shares during the period. Nordea Investment Management AB raised its position in shares of Aflac by 122.4% in the second quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 3,842,702 shares of the financial services provider's stock worth $136,186,000 after acquiring an additional 2,114,702 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley raised its position in shares of Aflac by 72.4% in the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 4,800,825 shares of the financial services provider's stock worth $174,510,000 after acquiring an additional 2,015,356 shares during the period. Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. raised its position in shares of Aflac by 39.0% in the second quarter. Rockefeller Capital Management L.P. now owns 3,888,237 shares of the financial services provider's stock worth $140,093,000 after acquiring an additional 1,091,372 shares during the period. Finally, Cannell Peter B & Co. Inc. raised its position in shares of Aflac by 1,015.9% in the third quarter. Cannell Peter B & Co. Inc. now owns 1,135,317 shares of the financial services provider's stock worth $41,269,000 after acquiring an additional 1,033,575 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 63.35% of the company's stock.
Several equities analysts recently issued reports on AFL shares. ValuEngine lowered shares of Aflac from a "sell" rating to a "strong sell" rating in a report on Monday, August 3rd. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price target on shares of Aflac from $35.00 to $40.00 and gave the stock a "neutral" rating in a report on Tuesday, September 22nd. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on shares of Aflac from $48.00 to $49.00 and gave the stock an "equal weight" rating in a report on Wednesday. TheStreet raised shares of Aflac from a "c+" rating to a "b-" rating in a report on Wednesday, October 7th. Finally, SunTrust Banks cut their price target on shares of Aflac from $44.00 to $37.00 and set a "hold" rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, July 30th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Aflac presently has an average rating of "Hold" and a consensus price target of $43.63.
Shares of AFL opened at $43.85 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $30.80 billion, a PE ratio of 6.85, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.75 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24, a current ratio of 0.06 and a quick ratio of 0.06. Aflac has a 1-year low of $23.07 and a 1-year high of $55.07. The company's fifty day moving average price is $37.91 and its 200-day moving average price is $36.74.
Aflac (NYSE:AFL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Sunday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $1.39 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts' consensus estimates of $1.14 by $0.25. Aflac had a net margin of 21.11% and a return on equity of 12.12%. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.16 EPS. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Aflac will post 4.93 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 17th will be given a dividend of $0.33 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 16th. This is an increase from Aflac's previous quarterly dividend of $0.28. This represents a $1.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.01%. Aflac's payout ratio is currently 25.23%.
Aflac Company Profile
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, income support, and whole and term life insurance products, as well as WAYS and child endowment plans under saving type insurance products.
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