Is AFLAC Incorporated (AFL) Going to Burn These Hedge Funds?

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AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) was in 28 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of March. AFL has seen an increase in hedge fund sentiment of late. There were 23 hedge funds in our database with AFL holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

To the average investor, there are many indicators market participants can use to monitor Mr. Market. Two of the most under-the-radar are hedge fund and insider trading movement. At Insider Monkey, our research analyses have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the best money managers can outpace their index-focused peers by a healthy margin (see just how much).

AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL)Just as integral, positive insider trading sentiment is a second way to break down the world of equities. Obviously, there are plenty of stimuli for a bullish insider to sell shares of his or her company, but just one, very simple reason why they would buy. Many empirical studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this strategy if investors understand where to look (learn more here).

Now, it’s important to take a gander at the key action regarding AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL).

What does the smart money think about AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL)?

Heading into Q2, a total of 28 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 22% from one quarter earlier. With hedge funds’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists an “upper tier” of key hedge fund managers who were increasing their holdings substantially.

Of the funds we track, Citadel Investment Group, managed by Ken Griffin, holds the largest position in AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL). Citadel Investment Group has a $127.9 million position in the stock, comprising 0.2% of its 13F portfolio. Coming in second is John W. Rogers of Ariel Investments, with a $73 million position; 1.3% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining peers with similar optimism include Jim Simons’s Renaissance Technologies, Daniel Bubis’s Tetrem Capital Management and Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management.

Consequently, key money managers were breaking ground themselves. Renaissance Technologies, managed by Jim Simons, initiated the most valuable position in AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL). Renaissance Technologies had 55.4 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors also initiated a $9.6 million position during the quarter. The other funds with new positions in the stock are Daniel S. Och’s OZ Management, Jason Adler’s AlphaBet Management, and David Dreman’s Dreman Value Management.

What do corporate executives and insiders think about AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL)?

Insider purchases made by high-level executives is most useful when the company we’re looking at has seen transactions within the past six months. Over the last six-month time period, AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) has seen zero unique insiders buying, and 9 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also review hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL). These stocks are PICO Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PICO), StanCorp Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:SFG), CNO Financial Group Inc (NYSE:CNO), Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ), and Unum Group (NYSE:UNM). This group of stocks are in the accident & health insurance industry and their market caps match AFL’s market cap.

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