Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of MetLife (NYSE:MET) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “MetLife’s shares underperformed its industry in a year's time. The company kept a reserve charge of $331 million in its Retirement and Income Solutions (RIS) Segment, which reflects weak internal control. Its investment in efficiency programs is expected to weigh on margins before reaping benefits. Also, exposure to catastrophe induces earnings volatility. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 1.2% downward over the last 60 days. This reflects analysts' pessimism towards the stock. Nevertheless, MetLife's efforts to streamline its business (for the past many years), only to focus on core business, are really impressive. Its strong international operations and disciplined capital management should drive long-term growth.”
MET has been the subject of a number of other reports. Morgan Stanley cut their target price on MetLife from $59.00 to $58.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, February 14th. Goldman Sachs reissued a buy rating on shares of MetLife in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. ValuEngine raised MetLife from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 7th. Wells Fargo set a $60.00 target price on MetLife and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 13th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a buy rating and set a $56.00 target price on shares of MetLife in a research note on Friday, February 23rd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, eight have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $57.90.
MetLife (NYSE:MET) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, February 13th. The financial services provider reported $0.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.05 by ($0.41). The business had revenue of $15.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $15.89 billion. MetLife had a return on equity of 8.59% and a net margin of 5.69%. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.28 earnings per share. research analysts anticipate that MetLife will post 4.93 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, March 13th. Investors of record on Monday, February 5th were paid a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.50%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, February 2nd. MetLife’s payout ratio is currently 46.92%.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. First Dallas Securities Inc. purchased a new position in MetLife in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $111,000. Ffcm LLC increased its stake in MetLife by 2,020.8% in the 3rd quarter. Ffcm LLC now owns 2,248 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $119,000 after purchasing an additional 2,142 shares in the last quarter. Sandy Spring Bank increased its stake in MetLife by 495.2% in the 4th quarter. Sandy Spring Bank now owns 2,375 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $120,000 after purchasing an additional 1,976 shares in the last quarter. Wagner Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in MetLife in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $126,000. Finally, Avestar Capital LLC purchased a new position in MetLife in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $135,000. 77.64% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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MetLife Company Profile
MetLife, Inc, through its subsidiaries, engages in the insurance, annuities, employee benefits, and asset management businesses. It operates through five segments: U.S.; Asia; Latin America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and MetLife Holdings. The company offers life, dental, group short- and long-term disability, individual disability, accidental death and dismemberment, vision, and accident and health coverages, as well as prepaid legal plans; administrative services-only arrangements to employers; and stable value products, including general and separate account guaranteed interest contracts, and private floating rate funding agreements.
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