Zacks Investment Research Lowers Metlife (MET) to Hold

Metlife (NYSE:MET) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of MetLife have outperformed the industry in the last six months. We are impressed with the company’s efforts to streamline its business (for the past many years) to focus on the ones with potential for growth and on fixing or exiting businesses that do not create value. Its strong international operations and disciplined capital management should drive long-term growth. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 2.3% upward over the last 60 days. Nevertheless, persistent decline in MetLife’s revenues, due to lower premiums, investment income, and fees collected from Universal Life and investment type product, and other revenues for more than two years bothers us.”

MET has been the topic of a number of other research reports. TheStreet lowered Metlife from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Monday, August 21st. ValuEngine lowered Metlife from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, August 26th. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $53.00 price target (down previously from $64.00) on shares of Metlife in a research report on Monday, August 28th. FBR & Co reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $53.00 price target on shares of Metlife in a research report on Tuesday, August 29th. Finally, UBS reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $49.00 price target (down previously from $57.00) on shares of Metlife in a research report on Friday, September 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $58.52.

Shares of Metlife (NYSE:MET) traded down $1.08 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $51.41. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 15,455,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,729,905. The firm has a market cap of $54,077.64, a PE ratio of 9.88, a PEG ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 1.49. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.31, a current ratio of 0.16 and a quick ratio of 0.16. Metlife has a 52-week low of $44.26 and a 52-week high of $55.91.

Metlife (NYSE:MET) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $1.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.90 by $0.19. Metlife had a positive return on equity of 8.81% and a negative net margin of 0.75%. The company had revenue of $16.10 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $15.47 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.28 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Metlife will post 4.42 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, insider Christopher G. Townsend sold 82,731 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.60, for a total value of $4,517,112.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 49,660 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,711,436. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Christopher G. Townsend sold 55,712 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.29, for a total value of $3,024,604.48. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 25,181 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,367,076.49. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. lifted its position in shares of Metlife by 208.5% during the third quarter. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. now owns 10,291,110 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $534,623,000 after acquiring an additional 6,954,917 shares in the last quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of Metlife by 47.7% during the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,201,238 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $285,756,000 after acquiring an additional 1,679,740 shares in the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. lifted its position in shares of Metlife by 71.4% during the second quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 3,672,729 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $201,778,000 after acquiring an additional 1,529,570 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Metlife by 2.2% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 69,957,359 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,843,457,000 after acquiring an additional 1,481,489 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership purchased a new stake in shares of Metlife during the second quarter worth $76,823,000. 76.37% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Metlife

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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