MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) was the target of a large increase in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 15,344,353 shares, an increase of 71.7% from the August 15th total of 8,938,283 shares. Currently, 1.7% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 5,758,519 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.7 days.

A number of analysts have weighed in on MET shares. TheStreet upgraded shares of MetLife from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Monday, July 24th. Wells Fargo & Company restated a “buy” rating on shares of MetLife in a research note on Monday, August 7th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a “buy” rating and set a $59.00 price objective on shares of MetLife in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “buy” rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of MetLife in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Finally, Argus reduced their price objective on shares of MetLife from $60.00 to $55.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $57.95.

Shares of MetLife (MET) opened at 48.54 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $51.59 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 571.06 and a beta of 1.44. The company’s 50-day moving average is $47.80 and its 200 day moving average is $47.29. MetLife has a 12 month low of $38.17 and a 12 month high of $51.77.

MetLife (NYSE:MET) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The financial services provider reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.28 by $0.02. MetLife had a net margin of 0.30% and a return on equity of 8.51%. The company had revenue of $17.39 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $17.11 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.83 EPS. MetLife’s quarterly revenue was up 2.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that MetLife will post $4.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, September 13th. Investors of record on Monday, August 7th were issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 3rd. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.30%. MetLife’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 1,777.98%.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Intl Fcstone Inc. acquired a new position in MetLife in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $383,000. Griffin Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in MetLife in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $2,424,000. Farmers National Bank acquired a new position in MetLife in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $118,000. RNC Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in MetLife by 3.9% in the 2nd quarter. RNC Capital Management LLC now owns 427,056 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $23,462,000 after buying an additional 16,100 shares during the period. Finally, Sentry Investment Management LLC increased its holdings in MetLife by 0.8% in the 2nd quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 82,321 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $4,523,000 after buying an additional 690 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 74.24% of the company’s stock.

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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, and Corporate & Other. Its U.S. segment is organized into Group Benefits, Retirement and Income Solutions and Property & Casualty businesses.

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