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Has Aflac (AFL) Outpaced Other Finance Stocks This Year?

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For those looking to find strong Finance stocks, it is prudent to search for companies in the group that are outperforming their peers. Is Aflac (AFL) one of those stocks right now? By taking a look at the stock's year-to-date performance in comparison to its Finance peers, we might be able to answer that question.

Aflac is one of 904 individual stocks in the Finance sector. Collectively, these companies sit at #2 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank gauges the strength of our 16 individual sector groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups.

The Zacks Rank emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions to find stocks with improving earnings outlooks. This system has a long record of success, and these stocks tend to be on track to beat the market over the next one to three months. Aflac is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).

Within the past quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for AFL's full-year earnings has moved 5.4% higher. This signals that analyst sentiment is improving and the stock's earnings outlook is more positive.

Based on the most recent data, AFL has returned 24.7% so far this year. In comparison, Finance companies have returned an average of 22.8%. As we can see, Aflac is performing better than its sector in the calendar year.

One other Finance stock that has outperformed the sector so far this year is Franklin Resources (BEN). The stock is up 38.8% year-to-date.

In Franklin Resources' case, the consensus EPS estimate for the current year increased 2.3% over the past three months. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

To break things down more, Aflac belongs to the Insurance - Accident and Health industry, a group that includes 5 individual companies and currently sits at #84 in the Zacks Industry Rank. On average, stocks in this group have gained 24.9% this year, meaning that AFL is slightly underperforming its industry in terms of year-to-date returns.

In contrast, Franklin Resources falls under the Financial - Investment Management industry. Currently, this industry has 44 stocks and is ranked #82. Since the beginning of the year, the industry has moved +22.7%.

Going forward, investors interested in Finance stocks should continue to pay close attention to Aflac and Franklin Resources as they could maintain their solid performance.


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