Metlife (NYSE:MET) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Metlife (NYSE:MET) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday, December 18th.

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.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Wells Fargo & Co reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $60.00 price objective (up from $55.00) on shares of Metlife in a report on Tuesday, October 3rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. ValuEngine downgraded Metlife from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, August 26th. B. Riley reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Metlife in a report on Monday, November 6th. Sandler O’Neill downgraded Metlife from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, November 10th. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their target price on Metlife from $54.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $57.90.

Metlife (NYSE:MET) traded down $0.16 on Monday, reaching $53.33. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 5,480,400 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,790,000. Metlife has a twelve month low of $44.43 and a twelve month high of $55.91. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.31, a quick ratio of 0.16 and a current ratio of 0.16. The company has a market capitalization of $56,120.00, a P/E ratio of 115.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.21 and a beta of 1.49.

Metlife (NYSE:MET) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $1.09 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the 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 firm had revenue of $16.10 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.47 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.28 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Metlife will post 4.4 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Metlife news, insider Christopher G. Townsend sold 82,731 shares of Metlife 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 sale, the insider now owns 49,660 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $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 Metlife stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.29, for a total value of $3,024,604.48. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 25,181 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,367,076.49. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Farmers National Bank bought a new position in shares of Metlife during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $118,000. Ffcm LLC boosted its holdings in Metlife by 2,020.8% during the 3rd quarter. Ffcm LLC now owns 2,248 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $119,000 after acquiring an additional 2,142 shares during the period. Cable Hill Partners LLC boosted its holdings in Metlife by 246.6% during the 3rd quarter. Cable Hill Partners LLC now owns 2,412 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $125,000 after acquiring an additional 1,716 shares during the period. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Metlife during the 3rd quarter valued at $151,000. Finally, First Mercantile Trust Co. boosted its holdings in Metlife by 3.4% during the 2nd quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 2,926 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $161,000 after acquiring an additional 97 shares during the period. 76.24% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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