Aflac (NYSE: AFL) reported earnings on Jan. 31. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Aflac missed estimates on revenues and missed expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew and GAAP earnings per share grew significantly.

Gross margins contracted, operating margins improved, and net margins grew.

Revenue details
Aflac booked revenue of $5.98 billion. The eight analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ foresaw a top line of $6.16 billion. Sales were 13% higher than the prior-year quarter's $5.29 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $1.48. The 19 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $1.51 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $1.17 for Q4 were 27% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.92 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 13.9%, 1,120 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 13.9%, 50 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 9.1%, 80 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $6.22 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.66.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $25.30 billion. The average EPS estimate is $6.67.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 1,854 members out of 1,932 rating the stock outperform, and 78 members rating it underperform. Among 585 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 571 give Aflac a green thumbs-up, and 14 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Aflac is outperform, with an average price target of $53.79.

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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Aflac. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Aflac. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.