Shares of supplemental insurance provider Aflac (AFL 2.13%) outpaced the gains of the wider stock market on Wednesday, rising by 3.7%. Much, if not all, of this gain was certainly due to the earnings beat the company posted in its first-quarter results published that morning.
Aflac booked total revenue of $5.16 billion for the quarter, which was down almost 9% from the $5.66 billion it took in during the same period of 2019. Non-GAAP (adjusted) net earnings went in a happier direction, rising nearly 4% to $882 million. Adjusted net earnings per share, exclusive of foreign currency impacts, increased by slightly more than 7% to $1.20. The latter figure comfortably exceeded the average analyst estimate of $1.10.
Like so many other companies considering the economic uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Aflac has withdrawn its guidance for 2020. "However, we will continue to provide color on the drivers of our earnings and any trends that we see for the remainder of the year," the company promised in the earnings release.
Finally, the board of directors declared that the insurer's second-quarter dividend will be $0.28 per share, which matches the previous two distributions. Aflac, by the way, is a Dividend Aristocrat, one of the few S&P 500 stocks that has raised its payout at least once annually for a minimum of 25 consecutive years. The new dividend is to be paid on June 1 to shareholders of record as of May 20. It yields 2.9% at Wednesday's closing price.