It was a bumpy ride for holders of Aflac stock Wednesday, following the supplemental health and life insurer's fourth-quarter and 2012 earnings report the day before.
Shares slid nearly $3.99 out of the gate, or about 7.5 percent, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange, at one point dipping below $50. They recovered slowly throughout the day, but still finished off $2.31 a share, or 4.3 percent, at $51.18. Trading volume was nearly three times normal.
The lackluster stock performance came after an earnings report in which Columbus-based Aflac posted a quarterly operating profit of $697 million and a full-year profit of $3.1 billion. It also approved a quarterly dividend of 35 cents per share, marking the 31st straight year it has paid out a dividend.
But the company also signaled that sales in Japan will slow this year, while the weakening yen will impact its financial numbers. The company projects sales in the U.S. will be “flat” to up 5 percent, while sales of third-sector cancer and medical products in Japan will be flat to up 5 percent.
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Aflac estimates operating earnings in 2013 will increase 4 percent to 7 percent per share, or about $6.86 to $7.06 per share, on a "currency neutral basis.”