Sun Life Financial (NYSE: SLF) and MetLife (NYSE:MET) are both large-cap finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership, valuation and risk.

Volatility and Risk

Sun Life Financial has a beta of 0.88, suggesting that its stock price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, MetLife has a beta of 1.46, suggesting that its stock price is 46% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Sun Life Financial and MetLife’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Sun Life Financial $21.36 billion 1.12 $3.00 billion $3.17 12.32
MetLife $63.21 billion 0.81 $817.50 million $0.09 532.84

Sun Life Financial has higher revenue, but lower earnings than MetLife. Sun Life Financial is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than MetLife, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for Sun Life Financial and MetLife, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Sun Life Financial 0 8 2 0 2.20
MetLife 1 4 7 0 2.50

Sun Life Financial presently has a consensus target price of $47.25, indicating a potential upside of 21.00%. MetLife has a consensus target price of $59.71, indicating a potential upside of 24.53%. Given MetLife’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe MetLife is more favorable than Sun Life Financial.

Dividends

Sun Life Financial pays an annual dividend of $1.27 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. MetLife pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. Sun Life Financial pays out 40.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. MetLife pays out 1,778.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Sun Life Financial has increased its dividend for 4 consecutive years.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

43.0% of Sun Life Financial shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 75.6% of MetLife shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.3% of MetLife shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Sun Life Financial and MetLife’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Sun Life Financial 12.48% 13.29% 1.03%
MetLife 0.30% 8.51% 0.65%

Summary

MetLife beats Sun Life Financial on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Sun Life Financial Company Profile

Sun Life Financial Inc. is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. The Company is a financial services company providing a range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. It operates through five segments. The Sun Life Financial Canada segment provides retail insurance and investment advice, products and services to people across Canada. The SLF U.S. segment has three business units: Group Benefits, International and In-force Management. Its Sun Life Financial Asset Management segment consists of MFS Investment Management and Sun Life Investment Management. The SLF Asia segment operates through subsidiaries in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as through joint ventures and associates with local partners in the Philippines, India, China and Malaysia. Its Corporate segment includes SLF U.K. and Corporate Support. Corporate Support operations consist of its Run-off reinsurance business.

MetLife Company Profile

MetLife, Inc. is a provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. The Company’s segments include U.S.; Asia; Latin America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); MetLife Holdings; Brighthouse Financial, and Corporate & Other. Its U.S. segment is organized into Group Benefits, Retirement and Income Solutions and Property & Casualty businesses. Its Asia segment offers products, including life insurance; accident and health insurance, and retirement and savings products. Latin America offers products, including life insurance, and retirement and savings products. Life insurance includes universal, variable and term life products. EMEA offers products, including life insurance, accident and health insurance, retirement and savings products, and credit insurance. The Brighthouse Financial segment offers products and services, including variable, fixed, index-linked and income annuities, as well as variable, universal, term and whole life products.

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