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

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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A number of other brokerages have also issued reports on MET. UBS reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $51.00 target price (down previously from $52.00) on shares of MetLife in a research report on Friday, March 2nd. Deutsche Bank started coverage on MetLife in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd. They issued a “hold” rating and a $55.00 target price on the stock. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $56.00 target price on shares of MetLife in a research report on Friday, February 23rd. Wells Fargo dropped their target price on MetLife from $61.00 to $60.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered MetLife from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Two 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 assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $57.90.

Shares of MetLife (NYSE:MET) opened at $47.22 on Tuesday. MetLife has a 1 year low of $43.38 and a 1 year high of $55.91. The stock has a market capitalization of $48,815.52, a P/E ratio of 13.85, a P/E/G ratio of 0.96 and a beta of 1.28. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29, a current ratio of 0.15 and a quick ratio of 0.15.

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

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Cowen Prime Services LLC increased its holdings in shares of MetLife by 16.0% during the 3rd quarter. Cowen Prime Services LLC now owns 7,250 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $377,000 after acquiring an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Investment Centers of America Inc. increased its holdings in shares of MetLife by 11.6% during the 3rd quarter. Investment Centers of America Inc. now owns 9,874 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $511,000 after acquiring an additional 1,026 shares during the last quarter. Zions Bancorporation increased its holdings in shares of MetLife by 15.9% during the 3rd quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 7,599 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $395,000 after acquiring an additional 1,045 shares during the last quarter. CLS Investments LLC increased its holdings in shares of MetLife by 18.7% during the 3rd quarter. CLS Investments LLC now owns 6,792 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $353,000 after acquiring an additional 1,072 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Jolley Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of MetLife by 1.4% during the 4th quarter. Jolley Asset Management LLC now owns 76,446 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,865,000 after acquiring an additional 1,085 shares during the last quarter. 77.64% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About MetLife

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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