Insurance Stock Just Breached a Key Trendline

AFL puts are heavily outweighing calls lately

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Earlier this week, we hit the insurance sector with a technical breakdown of All State (ALL). Continuing our roundup of insurance companies with catchy ads, Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) has been in focus after its 2022 Aflac Risk Survey pointed towards an increased prioritization of mental health for Americans over other topics like the economy or politics.

The survey also noted that Americans with higher incomes placed a greater importance on mental health. As a result, Aflac announced that it has added mental health components to several of its products in 2022 as a means to alleviate the issue.

As interesting as this news is, Aflac stock responded with a weekly loss of 3.8% and closed at its lowest level since Aug. 2. Now below its year-to-date breakeven level, AFL does provide a fair valuation at a forward price-earnings ratio of 10.73 and a price-sales ratio of 1.85. AFL also offers a decent dividend yield of 2.64% at a forward dividend of $1.60.

Nonetheless, Aflac stock’s fundamentals remain a big concern. To begin with, the insurance company holds a weak balance sheet with $6.87 billion in cash and $11.02 billion in total debt. Additionally, AFL has seen very little progress with its top line in recent years, reporting just 1.1% revenue growth between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2021.

Furthermore, AFL is expected to report significant declines for fiscal 2022, with estimates projecting a 12.7% decrease in revenues and a 9.6% decrease in earnings. Aflac is also estimated to see a 2.4% drop in revenues and only a 1.1% increase in earnings for fiscal 2023, providing nothing for growth investors and very little for fundamental-based investors.

Aflac stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 8.08 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) stands out. Not only does this indicate puts outflank calls by a more than eight-to-one ratio, that ratio sits in the elevated 91st percentile of its annual range. In other words, this suggests a very healthy appetite for long puts of late.

Now could be a good time to speculate with options, too, as the security's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) sits at an elevated 80 out of 100. This indicates the security has exceeded volatility expectations during the past year.


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