Jun. 30, 2014, 2:56 PM
- Aflac's (AFL -0.7%) long-term counterparty rating is lifted to A from A-, and the junior subordinated debt rating to BBB+ from BBB. The agency also affirms the AA- financial strength and counterparty ratings on Aflac's core insurance entities. The outlook, however, is negative.
- "We based the upgrade on very strong fixed-charge coverage ratio, 15x as of year-end 2013, moderate financial leverage ... for the current rating level, strong operating company dividend capacity, and liquidity at the holding company relative to its ongoing obligations, such as interest and principal payments on debt," says analyst Deep Banerjee.
- The negative outlook reflects S&P's negative outlook on Japan, and any downgrade of Japan would lead to a similar move on Aflac.
May. 23, 2014, 10:32 AM
- KBW upgrades German American Bancorp (GABC +2.1%) to Outperform with $30 price target.
- Janney Montgomery Scott upgrades Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRAA +4.1%) to Buy with $60 price target.
- Barclays downgrades Aflac (AFL -0.4%) to Equal weight.
- Ladenburg Thalmann downgrades Gladstone Investment (GAIN -0.5%) to Neutral.
May. 22, 2014, 11:17 AM
- Aflac (AFL -0.6%) is targeting $1.673B in dividends and share repurchases this year vs. $1.474B in 2013. Capital returns fell to as low at $403M in 2009 after peaking at $2.075B in 2008. Repatriation from Japan is expected to be ¥127B ($1.25B).
- Listening in, Sterne Agee says the investor day confirms its positive view on the company and expects profit repatriation to remain high in 2015 and 2016.
- Webcast and presentation slides
Apr. 29, 2014, 5:36 PM
Apr. 29, 2014, 4:57 PM
- Operating earnings of $774M or $1.69 per share vs. $790M and $1.69 a year ago. Weaker dollar/yen exchange rate cut earnings by $0.10. Excluding currency change, operating earnings per share increased 10%.
- 6.5M shares repurchased during Q1 for $415M. 42.7M shares remain under share buyback authorization.
- Book value of $34.53 per share compares to $31.82 at the end of 2013. On an operating basis, annualized ROE in Q1 was 22.7%, or 26% excluding impact of yen.
- Management reiterates guidance of 2-5% increase in operating earnings (on currency-neutral basis) in 2014.
- AFL -0.3% AH, but gained late in the regular session (closing 2.4% higher) after results were mistakenly released before the bell.
- Source: Press Release
- Previously: AFLAC Incorporated beats by $0.10, misses on revenue
Apr. 29, 2014, 3:58 PM| Comment!
Apr. 29, 2014, 3:47 PM| Comment!
Apr. 28, 2014, 5:35 PM
- ACE, ACHC, ACMP, AEC, AEGN, AFL, ANIK, ARI, AUY, AXS, AZPN, BGFV, BOOM, BXP, CALX, CAP, CEB, CEMP, CHE, CHRW, CLD, CMRE, CNQR, COLM, CRAY, DLB, DNB, DWA, EBAY, EEFT, EIX, EPR, ESRX, EZPW, FARO, FEIC, FISV, GMED, GNW, GPRE, HURN, IPHI, LOGM, MAC, MAR, MEOH, MWA, NANO, NATI, NCR, NDLS, NFX, NUVA, OHI, OI, PNRA, PRXL, REXX, RFMD, RNG, RNR, RPXC, RVBD, SIMG, SKT, SLCA, SM, STR, STX, SWI, TE, THG, TMH, TRLA, TRN, TTS, TWTR, ULTI, USNA, VNR, VPRT, VRSK, WSH, X, XCO.
Apr. 16, 2014, 3:18 PM
- Alongside Barclays' Jay Gelb's upgrade of Lincoln Financial (LNC +2.3%) to Overweight is a downgrade of Reinsurance Group of America (RGA -0.3%) to Equal Weight and cut in the price target to $81 from $88, citing increased competition in the life reinsurance market.
- For Lincoln, Gelb has boosted confidence in the company's ability to generate strong earnings growth despite the low interest rate environment.
- His top picks in the sector remain Prudential (PRU +1.6%), MetLife (MET +0.8%), Aflac (AFL +1.5%), and Protective Life (PL +1.2%), and he has a "positive outlook" on AIG and Hartford Financial (HIG +1.4%).
- "AFL has a top-tier ROE as well as robust share buybacks, and should benefit in 2015 from the Japan Post partnership," writes Gelb, noting yen weakness will hurt GAAP earnings, but the company has hedged profit repatriation back to the States. AIG and HIG, he says, "should deliver substantial share buybacks along with attractive valuations and ultimately higher ROEs."
- ETFs: KIE, IAK, KBWI, KBWP
Feb. 4, 2014, 4:33 PM
Feb. 4, 2014, 4:33 PM
- Revenue of $5.8B fell 9% from a year ago thanks to the big slide in the yen. Operating earnings per share of $1.40 fell from $1.48 a year ago, with the weaker yen accounting for $0.18 of the drop.
- Company repurchased 7.6M shares for $502M, bringing full year buybacks to 13.2M shares for $800M. The current authorization has 49.2M more shares available.
- Book value of $31.82 per share is up from $31.47 at the end of Q3. Annualized ROE on an operating basis in Q4 of 18.5% would have been 22.4% without the impact of the yen.
- 2014 outlook: U.S. sales growth flat to up 5%; Japan sales of third sector cancer and medical products up 2%-7%. Goal is to increase operating EPS by 2-5% on a currency neutral basis. Share repurchases will help, but headwinds include the low interest rate environment in Japan, sizable infrastructure investments to be made in both the U.S. and Japan, and a boost in Japan's consumption tax to 8% from 5%.
- Press release, Q4 results
- CC tomorrow at 9 ET
- AFL -0.8% AH
Feb. 4, 2014, 4:12 PM| Comment!
Feb. 4, 2014, 12:10 AM
Feb. 3, 2014, 5:35 PM
Jan. 29, 2014, 12:59 PM
- Strong equity markets in Q4 should propel earnings for life insurers (set to start this week), writes Credit Suisse's Tom Gallagher, particularly those with variable annuity and asset management/retirement exposure. MetLife (MET -0.6%), Prudential (PRU -0.5%), and Lincoln National (LNC -1.1%), of course, have been busily trying to reduce exposure to variable annuities after nearly being brought down by them in the financial crisis.
- Deutshce's Yaron Kinar also strikes a bullish note, welcoming the big declines so far this year as a buying opportunity.
- Hartford (HIG -0.6%) is expected to post EPS of $0.90 vs. $0.54 a year earlier, and guidance should "be supportive" of his 2014 estimate of $3.62, says Gallagher, who rates the stock at Outperform.
- Principal Financial (PFG -0.9%) is expected to report $0.93 vs. $0.82 a year ago. Kinar expects a slowdown in buybacks to $23M. He rates the shares a Hold.
- Aflac (AFL +0.5%) is expected to post $1.39, down from $1.48 a year ago. Gallagher's numbers are higher, but he rates the shares only at Neutral.
- Capital returns at Ameriprise (AMP -0.6%) are estimated at $475M in Q4 - $375M in buybacks and $100M dividend - says Gallagher, rating the stock at Neutral.
- Prudential (PRU -0.5%) - rated at Outperform by Gallagher - should report $2.33 vs. $1.69 a year ago.
- MetLife (MET -0.6%) - rated a Buy by Kinar - may disappoint in the headline number thanks to a boosted share count due to the conversion of $1B in equity units. Investors hope to hear some clarity on buybacks, but shouldn't hold their breath until the insurer gets more guidance from the Fed.
- Gallagher rates AIG at Outperform though the insurer continues to suffer an underwriting loss - this creates opportunity, however, for a catalyst going forward from improvement in this trend.
Jan. 6, 2014, 8:46 AM
AFL vs. ETF Alternatives
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