Columbus, GA-based Aflac (NYSE:AFL), the world’s biggest seller of supplemental disability insurance, earned $636 million, or $1.41 a share for the first quarter, compared with $569 million, or $1.22 a share, a year ago. Revenues increased 5.1% to $5.07 billion.
According to Thomson Reuters, analysts expected a profit of $1.32 cents per share on revenue of $5.02 billion. Aflac beat earnings by $.09 cents per share and beat revenues by $50 million.
“As we expected, we continued to see strong sales growth in our largest operating segment, Aflac Japan,” Aflac Chairman and CEO Daniel P. Amos said in an earnings statement. “At the same time, we were not surprised by continued sales weakness in the U.S. market in light of ongoing economic challenges. However, we posted strong consolidated financial results, and earnings-per-share growth was again consistent with our expectation and objective.”
According to Marketwatch, Aflac could experience heightened competition in Japan if MetLife Inc. completes its $15.5 billion takeover of Alico, American International Group Inc.’s second biggest life-insurance unit.
For 2010, Aflac said it will earn $5.24 to $5.56 a share if the yen averages 90 to 95 to the dollar for the full year. Analysts expect Aflac to earn $5.33 a share.
From a technical perspective, AFL’s stock price remains above the 200-day moving average of $48 per share. If the markets pullback following the fuming rally since February, keep an eye on the 200-day moving average as a source of support/resistance.
Disclosure: No positions in the companies mentioned.