Zacks Investment Research Lowers Metlife (MET) to Hold
Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Metlife (NYSE:MET) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Monday.
According to Zacks, “MetLife has been performing significantly well on the back of prudent underwriting and expense management. Its efforts to streamline business, only to focus on core business are really impressive. Its revenues grew in 2017 and first half of 2018 after declining for two years and the trend is likely to continue. Its strong international operations and disciplined capital management should drive long-term growth. However, the company’s exposure to catastrophe losses and investment in efficiency programs will put pressure on margins. Shares of the company have underperformed the industry in a year’s time. MetLife’s third quarter operating earnings of $1.38 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.25 by 10.4%. The bottom line also surged 33% year over year on volume growth, favorable underwriting, expense management and an improved investment income. “
Other analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $60.00 target price on shares of Metlife in a report on Thursday, September 27th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on shares of Metlife from $52.00 to $54.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Tuesday, November 13th. Sandler O’Neill reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $50.00 target price on shares of Metlife in a report on Thursday, August 2nd. UBS Group lifted their target price on shares of Metlife from $48.00 to $49.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Monday, October 8th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group lowered their target price on shares of Metlife from $67.00 to $63.00 and set an outperform rating for the company in a report on Friday, August 17th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $53.92.
Metlife (NYSE:MET) last released its earnings results on Thursday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $1.38 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.27 by $0.11. Metlife had a net margin of 7.62% and a return on equity of 9.76%. The firm had revenue of $16.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $15.88 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.09 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Metlife will post 5.35 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Metlife announced that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, November 1st that allows the company to buyback $2.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the financial services provider to reacquire up to 4.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 13th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 6th will be issued a dividend of $0.42 per share. This represents a $1.68 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.91%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 5th. Metlife’s dividend payout ratio is presently 37.33%.
In other Metlife news, Chairman Steven A. Kandarian sold 42,805 shares of Metlife stock in a transaction on Monday, August 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.03, for a total transaction of $2,013,119.15. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 559,097 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $26,294,331.91. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.34% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in MET. FMR LLC grew its holdings in shares of Metlife by 12.3% in the 3rd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 52,498,328 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,452,721,000 after buying an additional 5,760,379 shares during the period. Pzena Investment Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Metlife by 39.3% in the 2nd quarter. Pzena Investment Management LLC now owns 8,314,788 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $362,525,000 after buying an additional 2,346,866 shares during the period. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group grew its holdings in shares of Metlife by 4,778.5% in the 3rd quarter. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group now owns 1,324,512 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $28,350,000 after buying an additional 1,297,362 shares during the period. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp grew its holdings in shares of Metlife by 3,665.6% in the 3rd quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp now owns 941,400 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $43,982,000 after buying an additional 916,400 shares during the period. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Metlife by 23.3% in the 3rd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 4,581,324 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $214,040,000 after buying an additional 866,060 shares during the period. 78.04% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
MetLife, Inc 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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