StockCall Scans Unum Group and AFLAC Inc.: Health Insurance Sector Rebounds

Feb 13, 2013, 08:00 ET from

LONDON, February 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Health insurance stocks are responding well to the recovering economic conditions. While the sector's performance is heavily dependent on macroeconomic and regulatory factors, the companies are also working to improve their efficiencies and margins. Unum Group (NYSE: UNM) reported strong Q4 results but still expects its short-term growth to be lower than its long-term growth targets. AFLAC Inc. (NYSE: AFL), on the other hand, is expanding its business in overseas market, specifically in Japan. The company derives over 80 percent of its total revenue from the Japanese insurance market. The sector looks robust with improving economic conditions. StockCall has taken an interest in these companies and you can now sign up to download the free technical research on Unum Group and AFLAC Inc. at  

Unum Group Reports Good Q4 Results

Unum Group performed well despite weak economic scenario. The company recently reported its fourth quarter financial numbers and its net income jumped to $233.9 million, up from a net loss reported in the corresponding quarter of last year. Unum Group expects its 2013 after tax operating income to grow in the range of 0 to 6 percent. The company also reported improvement in its low-performing divisions. Unum Group's U.S. disability business also showed better-than-expected growth. Register to download the free technical analysis on Unum Group at  

Unum Group stock grew 7.7 percent in the past 52 weeks. However, the company also provided additional value to its stockholders by buying back its shares. The insurance company bought $600 million worth of its stock in 2012. Shareholders also stand to benefit as the company responds to general improvement in the overall economy.

Unum Group has paid 13 cents per share in quarterly dividend. It is taking a conservative approach towards growth and is keeping its risk profile low. The strategy is designed to bring long-term value to its stock. Unum Group stock is also a good buy at this point as it trades at a discount to its book value, showing good upside potential. Its P/E ratio is quite conservative at 7.90. Unum Group offers good growth prospects for long-term investors.

AFLAC Grows its EPS

AFLAC Inc. is an ideal candidate for an income portfolio. While the stock tumbled more than 75 percent during the recession, it still retained its dividend payment and its dividend growth rate stands at 30 percent. The company also has the record of increasing its annual dividend for past 30 years. AFLAC expects to grow its earnings annually at 6.51 percent and plans to boost its dividend payments accordingly. In short, the company offers high assurance level for its dividend stability. Sign up today to read the free research report on AFLAC Inc. at  

The company recently reported its quarterly results and its EPS stood at $1.24, up from $1.15 per share it had earned a year earlier. The company is also driving its international business up. Its venture in the Japanese insurance market is thriving. However, it also leaves the business vulnerable to dollar-yen exchange rate risks. The company currently holds a leadership position in the Japanese cancer and medical insurance market. AFLAC stock trades at P/E ratio of 8.1, which is considerably lower than the industry average of 12.60.  Despite its recent gains, the stock is still off its pre-recession highs and thus offers a very good investment opportunity.

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