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MetLife (MET) Q3 Earnings Top on Volume Growth, OK's Buyback

MetLife, Inc.’s MET third-quarter 2017 operating earnings of $1.09 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 21%. However, the bottom line declined 11% year over year.

The quarter witnessed volume growth and a strong operational performance.

MetLife, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Including separation charges related to Brighthouse Financial, Inc. BHF and net derivative losses reflecting changes in foreign currencies, interest rates and equity markets, net loss came in at 8 cents per share, comparing unfavorably with 51 cents earned in the year-ago quarter.

The company generated operating revenues of $16.8 billion, up 5% year over year on 8% higher premiums, fees & other revenues. However, a 7% decline in net investment income was a partial dampener. Revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 10%.

Total expenses increased 5.4% year over year to $15.6 billion.

Segment Details

U.S.

Operating earnings in this segment slipped 1% year over year to $546 million, attributable to lower interest margins, partially offset by favorable underwriting and volume growth. Operating premiums, fees & other revenues increased 17% to $7.4 billion.

Asia

Operating earnings were down 3% (or unchanged on a constant currency basis) year over year to $314 million on higher Japan tax rate. However, volume growth and the actuarial assumption review limited this downside. Operating premiums, fees & other revenues in Asia decreased 3% (up 3% on a constant currency basis) to $2.2 billion.

Latin America

Operating earnings were $163 million, up 23% (18% on a constant currency basis) year over year. Earnings improved due to volume growth and favorable underwriting. Operating premiums, fees & other revenues were $937 million, up 5% on reported and 2% on constant currency basis.

EMEA

Operating earnings from EMEA decreased 4% (or 1% on constant currency basis) year over year to $71 million due to less favorable underwriting. However, volume growth and expense margin improvements limited this downside. Operating premiums, fees & other revenues were $634 million, up 2% both on reported as well as constant currency basis.

MetLife Holdings

Operating earnings from MetLife Holdings came in at $410 million, up 54% year over year, largely attributable to third-quarter actuarial assumption review. Operating premiums, fees & other revenues were $1.4 billion, down 12%, primarily due to the separation-related impacts.

Corporate & Other

Corporate & other incurred an operating loss of $336 million against an operating income of $6 million in the prior-year quarter.

Financial Update

Variable investment income decreased to $236 million from $293 million in the year-ago quarter due to lower prepayment fee income.

Book value per share decreased 23% year over year to $40.96 per share as of Sep 30, 2017.

Operating return on equity was 9.6% in the quarter, expanded 30 basis points year over year.

Capital Deployment

The board of directors has approved a new $2 billion share repurchase program.

MetLife will return $4.5 billion capital to shareholders in 2017.

Update on Brighthouse Financial

MetLife also announced intentions to divest its remaining Brighthouse Financial common stock next year through an exchange offer for MetLife shares.

Zacks Rank

MetLife carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see https://www.zacks.com/stocks/buy-list/?ADID=zp_1link&ICI... _1link">the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Performance of Other Insurers

Among other players from the life insurance industry that have reported their third-quarter earnings so far, the bottom lines of Prudential Financial, Inc. PRU and CNO Financial Group, Inc. CNO have topped the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

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MetLife, Inc. (MET): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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Brighthouse Financial, Inc. (BHF): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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