Lazard Asset Management LLC lifted its position in AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) by 70.1% in the 1st quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 360,867 shares of the financial services provider’s stock after buying an additional 148,722 shares during the quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC’s holdings in AFLAC were worth $18,042,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc raised its stake in AFLAC by 0.8% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 66,738,143 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,141,364,000 after purchasing an additional 505,341 shares during the period. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. raised its stake in AFLAC by 5.3% during the fourth quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 120,353 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $5,483,000 after purchasing an additional 6,038 shares during the period. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its stake in AFLAC by 2,138.4% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 3,815,741 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $84,000 after purchasing an additional 3,645,273 shares during the period. Kovack Advisors Inc. raised its stake in AFLAC by 15.5% during the fourth quarter. Kovack Advisors Inc. now owns 6,330 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $288,000 after purchasing an additional 851 shares during the period. Finally, Homrich & Berg raised its stake in AFLAC by 3.4% during the fourth quarter. Homrich & Berg now owns 7,949 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $362,000 after purchasing an additional 262 shares during the period. 66.75% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In related news, SVP Albert Riggieri sold 5,247 shares of AFLAC stock in a transaction on Monday, June 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.39, for a total transaction of $274,890.33. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 10,698 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $560,468.22. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Masatoshi Koide sold 29,008 shares of AFLAC stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.75, for a total transaction of $1,443,148.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 64,512 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,209,472. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 177,332 shares of company stock worth $9,078,988. Insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

AFL has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of AFLAC from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $55.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, April 30th. Barclays increased their price target on shares of AFLAC from $45.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 22nd. UBS Group cut their price target on shares of AFLAC from $50.00 to $49.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, April 30th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of AFLAC from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, March 1st. Finally, Raymond James raised their target price on shares of AFLAC from $55.00 to $56.00 and gave the company a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 30th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating, two have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $50.09.

Shares of AFL stock opened at $54.47 on Friday. AFLAC Incorporated has a 52 week low of $41.45 and a 52 week high of $54.98. The company has a current ratio of 0.05, a quick ratio of 0.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.23. The firm has a market capitalization of $40.54 billion, a PE ratio of 13.09, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.69 and a beta of 0.71.

AFLAC (NYSE:AFL) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The financial services provider reported $1.12 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.05 by $0.07. AFLAC had a net margin of 14.26% and a return on equity of 13.49%. The business had revenue of $5.66 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.46 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.05 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts expect that AFLAC Incorporated will post 4.3 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, June 3rd. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, May 22nd were paid a $0.27 dividend. This represents a $1.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.98%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, May 21st. AFLAC’s dividend payout ratio is presently 25.96%.

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About AFLAC

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for AFLAC (NYSE:AFL)

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