Duck-centric insurer Aflac (NYSE:AFL) will report first-quarter 2007 financial results on April 24.

What analysts say:

•  Buy, sell, or waffle? A gaggle of 21 analysts covers Aflac, 10 of whom quack that it's a buy, while nine say hold. Two ugly ducklings rate the Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation a sell.

•  Revenues. Revenues are expected to grow 5% to $3.7 billion.

•  Earnings. Profits, on the other hand, are expected to rise 10% to $0.79 per share.

What management says:
The supplemental health and life insurer derives a significant portion of its business from Japan, and it was still able to achieve record revenues despite disappointing fourth-quarter results. Even though new sales premiums exceeded lost premiums from lapses, actual new sales were off nearly 17% from the year before. The company also benefited from having the yen not affect earnings. While Aflac views currency exchange rates as only a financial reporting issue and one not having an economic impact, when the yen is weak -- as it had been for most of the year -- results can look worse than they are.

What management does:
Management believes that increasing operating earnings by 15% to 16% is in the realm of possibility and would result in earnings of $3.28 to $3.31 (sans the currency exchange effects). They plan on doing that by widening its exposure in the U.S. -- can the duck be any more exposed? -- as well as through appropriate deployment of its expanded sales force. The percentage of business attributable to the U.S. has been creeping up and stands at 27% of total revenues.



















All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.

One Fool says:
According to market researchers, the Aflac duck is one of the most recognizable corporate mascots today. Rumor that the company was planning on offing the duck actually spurred the company to announce that it had no such intention of making duck soup of its icon. Here in the U.S., that positive image has been translating well into sales, with total new sales rising 21% last quarter, although pretax margins were down double-digit percentages. With continued weakness in Japan, overall results may end up waddling to the low side.

Related Foolishness:

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Aflac is a recommendation of Motley Fool Stock Advisor.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.