MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “MetLife's earnings of $1.35 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny and increased 1.5% year over year. The company remains exposed to headwinds like adverse foreign exchange, taxes, regulatory uncertainty surrounding its SIFI designation, and stiff competition. Nevertheless, its consistent inorganic growth via acquisitions and divestitures allow it to focus on core growth areas, which in turn, have been paving the way for long-term success. The separation of the its retail unit will reduce its risk exposure to equity and interest rates. The company’s ongoing efforts to reduce expenses will cushion its bottom line in the long term. In addition, the company maintains a diversified business mix and is one of the strongest brands in the world. Its strong balance sheet, improved cash balance and lower debt level are other positives.”

Several other research analysts also recently commented on the company. RBC Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $61.00 target price on shares of MetLife in a research note on Monday, February 6th. Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of MetLife in a research note on Sunday, February 5th. FBR & Co restated a “hold” rating on shares of MetLife in a research note on Thursday, February 2nd. Citigroup Inc. began coverage on MetLife in a research note on Thursday, January 26th. They issued a “sell” rating and a $51.00 target price for the company. Finally, Standpoint Research downgraded MetLife from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, December 9th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $54.73.

Analyst Recommendations for MetLife (NYSE:MET)

MetLife (NYSE:MET) opened at 53.65 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $58.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 85.29 and a beta of 1.65. MetLife has a 1-year low of $36.17 and a 1-year high of $58.09. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $53.82 and a 200 day moving average price of $49.16.

MetLife (NYSE:MET) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, February 1st. The company reported $1.28 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.34 by $0.06. MetLife had a return on equity of 7.17% and a net margin of 1.30%. The company earned $12.08 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $17.34 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.23 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 29.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that MetLife will post $5.33 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 13th. Stockholders of record on Monday, February 6th will be given a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, February 2nd. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.98%. MetLife’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 262.30%.

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In other news, EVP Peter M. Carlson sold 23,636 shares of MetLife stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.32, for a total transaction of $1,283,907.52. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 39,914 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,168,128.48. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Frans Hijkoop sold 14,997 shares of MetLife stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.18, for a total value of $842,531.46. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 70,560 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,964,060.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Jacobus Wealth Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of MetLife during the third quarter worth about $104,000. ClariVest Asset Management LLC increased its stake in shares of MetLife by 0.3% in the second quarter. ClariVest Asset Management LLC now owns 2,806 shares of the company’s stock worth $112,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the period. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. increased its stake in shares of MetLife by 51.5% in the third quarter. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. now owns 2,625 shares of the company’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 892 shares during the period. Woodmont Investment Counsel LLC acquired a new stake in shares of MetLife during the third quarter worth about $120,000. Finally, Edge Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in shares of MetLife by 631.7% in the third quarter. Edge Wealth Management LLC now owns 3,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $133,000 after buying an additional 2,590 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.92% of the company’s stock.

MetLife Company Profile

MetLife, Inc (MetLife) is a provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. The Company’s segments include Retail; Group, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits; Corporate Benefit Funding; Latin America (collectively, the Americas); Asia, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

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