NEW YORK (AP) — Insurance company Aflac Inc. stock soared at mid-afternoon trading Wednesday after the company reported that its profit more than doubled on a surprise increase in sales in Japan.
THE SPARK: The company said late Tuesday that rising sales of insurance policies in Japan helped more than double its first-quarter income to $785 million from $389 million a year earlier. Its per-share income of $1.68 trumped analysts’ average forecast for $1.65 a share.
See also: Aflac’s profit doubles
THE BIG PICTURE: Aflac, which is based in Columbus, Ga., provides disability and supplemental insurance, primarily in Japan but also in the U.S. The company said it now expects its full-year sales in Japan to rise 10 percent, in contrast with an earlier forecast for a drop. The first-quarter results and outlook marked a turnaround. Aflac’s Japanese operations were hurt by the tsunami of March last year.