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

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Metlife (NYSE:MET) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report report published on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $51.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “MetLife’s third-quarter 2019 operating earnings of $1.27 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9.93% and declined 8% year over year. Earnings suffered from increase in expenses, which offset revenue growth. The company’s shares have outperformed its industry, year to date. It has been performing well led by prudent underwriting and expense management. Its efforts to streamline business and focus on core operations are impressive. Its disciplined capital deployment is expected to drive long-term growth and create wealth for shareholders. However, its exposure to catastrophe loss remains a concern. Investment in efficiency programs will likely put pressure on margins. Also, the company's net investment income might continue to decline in 2019 due to lower interest rates, which will likely pressurize investment yields.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on shares of Metlife from $54.00 to $53.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, August 20th. B. Riley restated a neutral rating on shares of Metlife in a research note on Tuesday, October 15th. Wells Fargo & Co upped their price target on shares of Metlife from $55.00 to $57.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, July 11th. UBS Group upped their price target on shares of Metlife from $46.00 to $47.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, October 10th. Finally, Citigroup dropped their price target on shares of Metlife from $42.00 to $41.00 and set a sell rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, September 13th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. Metlife has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $49.51.

MET traded up $0.28 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $49.32. The company had a trading volume of 5,509,790 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,417,675. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21, a quick ratio of 0.14 and a current ratio of 0.15. The stock has a market cap of $45.78 billion, a PE ratio of 9.15, a P/E/G ratio of 1.09 and a beta of 1.12. Metlife has a 12-month low of $37.76 and a 12-month high of $51.16. The business has a 50-day moving average price of $46.53 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $47.39.

Metlife (NYSE:MET) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 30th. The financial services provider reported $1.27 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.40 by ($0.13). The company had revenue of $16.92 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $16.37 billion. Metlife had a net margin of 10.82% and a return on equity of 8.82%. The firm’s revenue was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.38 earnings per share. On average, research analysts anticipate that Metlife will post 5.55 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 13th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 5th will be paid a $0.44 dividend. This represents a $1.76 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.57%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 4th. Metlife’s dividend payout ratio is presently 32.65%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MET. Private Trust Co. NA lifted its stake in Metlife by 4.8% in the 2nd quarter. Private Trust Co. NA now owns 7,305 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $362,000 after purchasing an additional 337 shares in the last quarter. Rockland Trust Co. increased its holdings in shares of Metlife by 5.3% in the 2nd quarter. Rockland Trust Co. now owns 6,679 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $332,000 after buying an additional 339 shares during the last quarter. DNB Asset Management AS increased its holdings in shares of Metlife by 24.9% in the 2nd quarter. DNB Asset Management AS now owns 188,012 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $9,339,000 after buying an additional 37,463 shares during the last quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd bought a new position in shares of Metlife in the 2nd quarter worth $13,179,000. Finally, Burns J W & Co. Inc. NY increased its holdings in shares of Metlife by 3.2% in the 2nd quarter. Burns J W & Co. Inc. NY now owns 24,553 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,220,000 after buying an additional 756 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.59% of the company’s stock.

Metlife Company Profile

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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