Aflac stock takes it on the chin a second day

Aflac Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos
Aflac Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos Ledger-Enquirer file photo

To be clear, it was a brutal day overall on Wall Street.

But that was little consolation for Aflac investors, who saw the company's shares take a major hit Thursday for the second day in a row.

On Thursday alone, shares tumbled $1.64 apiece, or nearly 2.7 percent, closing at $59.74, although the intra-day low was a dime below that.That was on the heels of Wednesday’s loss of $1.76 per share, or 2.8 percent, with the stock landing at $61.38 per share in the wake of the Columbus-based company’s news-filled earnings report the day before.

Aflac Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos announced the firm is restructuring its U.S. sales operation amid a downward trend in sales of its supplemental health and life insurance policies. The firm did report a second-quarter profit of $810 million, although that’s down 8.8 percent from a year ago.

The one-two trading punch on Wednesday and Thursday was painful, with the company losing just under 7 percent off its stock price since hitting an intra-day high of $64.11 per share last Friday.

Aflac’s low trading price for the past year came about 11 months ago, with shares touching $57.36 on Aug. 29 before beginning a steady climb to their 52-week high of $67.62 on Dec. 30.

Again, Thursday was a terrible day for the overall stock market, with the Dow Jones index losing 317 points or nearly 1.9 percent, while the S&P 500 gave up just over 39 points, or 2 percent.

The summer months typically can be a down period for stocks, thus the old adage, “Sell in May and go away,” with investors avoiding volatility until returning to a quieter market in November.

And Aflac certainly wasn’t alone on Thursday, with other publicly traded companies headquartered in Columbus taking it on the chin.

Regional bank Synovus Financial Corp. fell 51 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $23.55 per share. Carmike Cinemas dropped 47 cents, or nearly 1.5 percent, to $31.44 per share. Credit-card and payment processor Total System Services dipped 32 cents, or nearly 1 percent, to an even $32 per share.