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Citigroup Upgrades Aflac

Citigroup upgrades Aflac (AFL) to hold from sell.

Analyst Colin Devine says he upgrades as results are 4 cents ahead of his estimate, which revealed better-than-expected operating trends at both Japanese and U.S. operations, although they still remain weak relative to historical standards.

He raises his 2005, 2006, and 2007 earnings per share estimates by 10 cents to $2.70, $3.00, and $3.35, respectively. He maintains a $38 target in wake of recent weakness in valuations for a peer group that continues to face strained future earnings per share outlook given low interest rate environment.

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