Amos tries to calm analysts' fears about Aflac stock

Aflac Chairman and Chief Excecutive Office Dan Amos told financial analysts that the company’s investment portfolio was still “strong.”

Amos and other top Aflac executives spent more than an hour answering questions Tuesday morning about the Columbus-based supplemental insurance company’s more than $68 billion in investments. Aflac released fourth-quarter earnings after the market closed on Monday.

The portifolio came into question almost two weeks ago when a Morgan Stanley analyst reported that about $8 billion of the investments so-called hybrid securities held by European banks. Those securities could be at risk if the banks were taken over by their governments, analyst Nigel Dally wrote.

The investment fears triggered a week-long run that ate away more than a third of the stock’s value on the New York Stock Exchange.

Analyst Steven Schwartz with Raymond James & Associates based in Chicago said the Aflac executives answered his concerns. After the stock took severe hits, Schwartz upgraded his position.

“I am still comfortable in raising it to a strong buy,” Schwartz said after the conference call. “That was probably the right move.”

The Aflac stock price rose by more than $1 in early trading, but was only slightly down at about $23 per share in midafternoon trading.