Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. The firm currently has $60.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “MetLife, Inc.’s third-quarter earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate but declined year over year. The quarter witnessed volume growth and strong operational performance. Shares of MetLife have outperformed the industry in the last three 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. 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.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently commented on MET. BidaskClub upgraded shares of MetLife from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. B. Riley restated a neutral rating on shares of MetLife in a research report on Monday, November 6th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of MetLife from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 26th. Royal Bank Of Canada restated an outperform rating and issued a $60.00 price objective (up previously from $56.00) on shares of MetLife in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of MetLife from $55.00 to $56.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $58.40.

Shares of MetLife (NYSE MET) traded down $0.61 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $52.20. 4,853,100 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,040,548. 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 firm has a market capitalization of $54,930.01, a P/E ratio of 10.04, a P/E/G ratio of 1.31 and a beta of 1.51. MetLife has a 1 year low of $44.26 and a 1 year high of $55.91.

MetLife (NYSE:MET) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 1st. The financial services provider reported $1.09 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.90 by $0.19. The firm had revenue of $16.10 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $15.47 billion. MetLife had a negative net margin of 0.75% and a positive return on equity of 8.81%. The firm’s revenue was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.28 earnings per share. analysts predict that MetLife will post 4.43 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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MetLife declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback program on Wednesday, November 1st that allows the company to buyback $2.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the financial services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, December 13th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 6th will be paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 3rd. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.07%. MetLife’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is -320.00%.

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 shares were sold at an average price of $54.60, for a total value of $4,517,112.60. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 49,660 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,711,436. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed 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 transaction of $3,024,604.48. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 25,181 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,367,076.49. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Prudential Financial Inc. grew its stake in MetLife by 71.4% in the 2nd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 3,672,729 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $201,778,000 after acquiring an additional 1,529,570 shares during the period. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. grew its stake in MetLife by 5.2% in the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 3,555,656 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $195,348,000 after acquiring an additional 175,311 shares during the period. PGGM Investments grew its stake in MetLife by 2.3% in the 3rd quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 576,944 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $29,972,000 after acquiring an additional 12,978 shares during the period. KBC Group NV grew its stake in MetLife by 14.3% in the 2nd quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 1,263,802 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $69,433,000 after acquiring an additional 157,734 shares during the period. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas grew its stake in MetLife by 7.2% in the 1st quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 822,785 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $43,460,000 after acquiring an additional 55,508 shares during the period. 73.79% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

MetLife Company Profile

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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Analyst Recommendations for MetLife (NYSE:MET)

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