MetLife (MET) Cut to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of MetLife (NYSE:MET) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning.

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.”

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MET has been the topic of several other research reports. Morgan Stanley reduced their price objective on shares of MetLife from $59.00 to $58.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock 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 shares of MetLife from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 7th. Wells Fargo set a $60.00 price objective on shares of 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 issued a $56.00 price objective on shares of MetLife in a research note on Friday, February 23rd. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. MetLife presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $57.90.

Shares of MetLife (MET) opened at $44.08 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29, a quick ratio of 0.15 and a current ratio of 0.15. MetLife has a one year low of $43.38 and a one year high of $55.91. The firm has a market cap of $47,384.95, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.93 and a beta of 1.28.

MetLife (NYSE:MET) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 13th. The financial services provider reported $0.64 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.05 by ($0.41). MetLife had a return on equity of 8.59% and a net margin of 5.69%. The business had revenue of $15.79 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.89 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.28 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that MetLife will post 4.93 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, March 13th. Shareholders of record on Monday, February 5th were given a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, February 2nd. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.63%. MetLife’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 46.92%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MET. First Dallas Securities Inc. acquired a new position in shares of MetLife during the fourth quarter valued at about $111,000. Ffcm LLC raised its holdings in shares of MetLife by 2,020.8% during the third 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 during the period. Sandy Spring Bank raised its holdings in shares of MetLife by 495.2% during the fourth 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 during the period. Wagner Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of MetLife during the fourth quarter valued at about $126,000. Finally, Avestar Capital LLC acquired a new position in shares of MetLife during the fourth quarter valued at about $135,000. 77.64% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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Analyst Recommendations for MetLife (NYSE:MET)

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