Aflac Inc Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (AFL)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Aflac (NYSE: AFL) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 16.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AFL's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.26 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market, AFLAC INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of the industry average and is above that of the S&P 500.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.

Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, provides supplemental health and life insurance. Aflac has a market cap of $23.54 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Aflac Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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