Head-To-Head Survey: AFLAC (AFL) & Symetra Financial (SYA)

AFLAC (NYSE: AFL) and Symetra Financial (NYSE:SYA) are both financials companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, profitability, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, valuation, dividends and risk.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

65.6% of AFLAC shares are held by institutional investors. 3.0% of AFLAC shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares AFLAC and Symetra Financial’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
AFLAC $22.56 billion 1.52 $2.66 billion $6.89 12.66
Symetra Financial N/A N/A N/A $1.36 23.54

AFLAC has higher revenue and earnings than Symetra Financial. AFLAC is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Symetra Financial, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares AFLAC and Symetra Financial’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
AFLAC 12.49% 12.87% 2.03%
Symetra Financial 3.63% 2.50% 0.23%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for AFLAC and Symetra Financial, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
AFLAC 3 7 2 0 1.92
Symetra Financial 0 0 0 0 N/A

AFLAC currently has a consensus price target of $78.60, suggesting a potential downside of 9.87%. Given AFLAC’s higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe AFLAC is more favorable than Symetra Financial.

Dividends

AFLAC pays an annual dividend of $1.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.1%. Symetra Financial pays an annual dividend of $0.44 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.4%. AFLAC pays out 26.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Symetra Financial pays out 32.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. AFLAC has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years and Symetra Financial has increased its dividend for 34 consecutive years. AFLAC is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Summary

AFLAC beats Symetra Financial on 11 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About AFLAC

Aflac Incorporated is a business holding company. The Company is involved in supplemental health and life insurance, which is marketed and administered through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac). The Company’s insurance business consists of two segments: Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. The Company designs the United States insurance products to provide supplemental coverage for people having medical or primary insurance coverage. Aflac U.S. offers accident coverage on both an individual and group basis. The Company offers cancer plans, critical illness plans, and critical care and recovery plans. The Company designs the United States insurance products to provide supplemental coverage for people having medical or primary insurance coverage. Aflac U.S. offers accident coverage on both an individual and group basis. The Company offers cancer plans, critical illness plans, and critical care and recovery plans.

About Symetra Financial

Symetra Financial Corporation is a financial services company in the life insurance industry. The Company’s products are distributed domestically in all states and the District of Columbia through benefits consultants, financial institutions, broker-dealers and independent agents and advisers. It has three divisions: Benefits Division, Retirement Division and Individual Life Division. The Company’s Benefits Division provides medical stop-loss insurance, group life and disability income (DI) insurance, and limited benefit medical insurance as its principal products. The Company’s Retirement Division provides products that help its customers prepare for retirement and includes the Deferred Annuities and Income Annuities segments. The Company’s Individual Life division sells life insurance products.

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