Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of MetLife Inc. (NYSE:MET) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “MetLife remains exposed to headwinds like low interest rates, adverse foreign exchange, taxes, regulatory uncertainty surrounding its SIFI designation, and stiff competition. The company's earnings estimates for 2016 has been revised down by 3.1% to $4.62 over the past 60 days. The same for 2017 is down 1% to $5.67 over the same time frame. Nevertheless, consistent inorganic growth via acquisitions and divestitures allow it to focus on core growth areas, which in turn, have been paving the way for long-term success. The separation of the company’s retail unit will reduce its risk exposure to equity and interest rates. The company’s ongoing efforts to reduce expenses will cushion its bottom line in the long term. In addition, the company maintains a diversified business mix and is one of the strongest brands in the world. Its strong balance sheet, improved cash balance and lower debt level are other positives.”

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on the company. Argus set a $54.00 price target on MetLife and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, October 7th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a hold rating and issued a $44.00 price target on shares of MetLife in a report on Saturday, October 8th. Bank of America Corp. set a $51.00 price target on MetLife and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 6th. Credit Suisse Group AG initiated coverage on MetLife in a report on Friday, October 7th. They issued a neutral rating and a $51.00 price target for the company. Finally, Citigroup Inc. cut their price target on MetLife from $46.00 to $42.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a report on Thursday, July 7th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $51.95.

MetLife (NYSE:MET) traded up 0.62% on Monday, hitting $46.96. The stock had a trading volume of 878,616 shares. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $44.65 and its 200 day moving average price is $43.25. The firm has a market cap of $51.60 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.34 and a beta of 1.84. MetLife has a one year low of $35.00 and a one year high of $52.45.

MetLife (NYSE:MET) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by $0.52. MetLife had a return on equity of 6.18% and a net margin of 6.49%. The company had revenue of $17 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $17.35 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.56 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.3% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that MetLife will post $4.64 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, EVP Maria R. Morris sold 8,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $45.00, for a total transaction of $396,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 116,409 shares in the company, valued at $5,238,405. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Maria R. Morris sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.96, for a total transaction of $85,920.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 109,273 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,694,368.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. ClariVest Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of MetLife by 0.3% in the second quarter. ClariVest Asset Management LLC now owns 2,806 shares of the company’s stock worth $112,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the last quarter. Manchester Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of MetLife by 0.3% in the second quarter. Manchester Capital Management LLC now owns 2,891 shares of the company’s stock worth $115,000 after buying an additional 9 shares during the last quarter. Private Bank & Trust Co. boosted its stake in shares of MetLife by 0.5% in the second quarter. Private Bank & Trust Co. now owns 7,515 shares of the company’s stock worth $300,000 after buying an additional 40 shares during the last quarter. Keeley Asset Management Corp boosted its stake in shares of MetLife by 0.8% in the second quarter. Keeley Asset Management Corp now owns 6,174 shares of the company’s stock worth $246,000 after buying an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Atlantic Trust Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of MetLife by 0.3% in the second quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 22,262 shares of the company’s stock worth $887,000 after buying an additional 67 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.81% of the company’s stock.

MetLife Company Profile

MetLife, Inc (MetLife) is a provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. The Company’s segments include Retail; Group, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits; Corporate Benefit Funding; Latin America (collectively, the Americas); Asia, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MET

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