Aflac stock shares hit 52-week high of $52.75

It was a good ride for the duck on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday.

Shares of Aflac, headquartered on Wynnton Road in Columbus, reached a 52-week high of $52.75 in an overall positive market. The high came around 2 p.m. in modest trading volume. Aflac shares closed 68 cents higher for the day at $52.67, a 1.3 percent gain.

The supplemental health and life insurer’s stock is soaring to levels it hasn’t seen since topping out at $52.74 per share on May 18, 2011.

Since that time, shares had fallen to a low of $38.13 per share on June 4 of this year before beginning a slow, steady rebound to the current level.

On Wednesday, Sean Williams, a columnist for The Motley Fool financial site, put Aflac on his stock “watch list,” pointing out that the Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare” — could work in the company’s favor.

“Consider that the Affordable Care Act should help lower health care costs in 2014 and will more than likely give supplemental health plan seekers the extra cash needed to purchase these plans,” Williams wrote.

“Also, Aflac pays out one of the safest dividends in the sector and is currently yielding 2.7 percent after reporting record third-quarter results and raising its 2012 (earnings per share) outlook in late October,” he said. “I feel that at roughly seven times forward earnings, Aflac could be a perfect set-it-and-forget-it type of selection for income investors seeking stable companies.”