MetLife (NYSE: MET) and Manulife Financial Corp (NYSE:MFC) are both large-cap finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, profitability, dividends, valuation, institutional ownership and earnings.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for MetLife and Manulife Financial Corp, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
MetLife 1 4 8 0 2.54
Manulife Financial Corp 0 0 5 0 3.00

MetLife presently has a consensus target price of $59.44, indicating a potential upside of 26.93%. Manulife Financial Corp has a consensus target price of $24.00, indicating a potential upside of 22.20%. Given MetLife’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe MetLife is more favorable than Manulife Financial Corp.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares MetLife and Manulife Financial Corp’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
MetLife $63.21 billion 0.79 $817.50 million $0.09 520.39
Manulife Financial Corp $31.30 billion 1.24 $4.76 billion $1.38 14.23

Manulife Financial Corp has higher revenue, but lower earnings than MetLife. Manulife Financial Corp is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than MetLife, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

MetLife has a beta of 1.46, meaning that its share price is 46% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Manulife Financial Corp has a beta of 1.3, meaning that its share price is 30% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

74.2% of MetLife shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 46.0% of Manulife Financial Corp shares are held by institutional investors. 0.3% of MetLife shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares MetLife and Manulife Financial Corp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
MetLife 0.30% 8.51% 0.65%
Manulife Financial Corp N/A 11.33% 0.62%

Dividends

MetLife pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.4%. Manulife Financial Corp pays an annual dividend of $0.66 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.4%. MetLife pays out 1,778.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Manulife Financial Corp pays out 47.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. MetLife has raised its dividend for 4 consecutive years and Manulife Financial Corp has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years. MetLife is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Summary

MetLife beats Manulife Financial Corp on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About MetLife

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. Its Asia segment offers products, including life insurance; accident and health insurance, and retirement and savings products. Latin America offers products, including life insurance, and retirement and savings products. Life insurance includes universal, variable and term life products. EMEA offers products, including life insurance, accident and health insurance, retirement and savings products, and credit insurance.

About Manulife Financial Corp

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) is a holding company of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (MLI), which is a life insurance company, and John Hancock Reassurance Company Ltd. (JHRECO), which is a reinsurance company. The Company operates as a financial services company with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. The Company’s segments include Asia Division, Canadian Division, U.S. Division, and the Corporate and Other. The Company operates as Manulife in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. The product and service offerings under its Asia, Canadian and U.S. Divisions include Protection, Wealth and Asset Management, and Other Wealth. The Corporate and Other segment includes external asset management business, Property and Casualty (P&C) Reinsurance Business, and run-off reinsurance operations, including variable annuities, and accident and health.

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