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Why Is MetLife (MET) Up 1.8% Since Last Earnings Report?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for MetLife (MET - Free Report) . Shares have added about 1.8% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is MetLife due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

MetLife’s Q4 Earnings Beat Estimates

MetLife, Inc.’s fourth-quarter 2018 operating earnings of $1.35 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.85%. The bottom line also surged 22% year over year. Earnings gained from a decline in total expenses.

Behind the Headlines

The company generated operating revenues of $15.4 billion, which remained almost unchanged year over year. However, the top line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.7%.

Adjusted premiums, fees & other revenues of $11.02 billion decreased 2% year over year.  Net investment income of $3.46 billion decreased 22%.

Total expenses of $13.2 million were down 11.3% year over year on lower benefits and claims, interest credited to policyholder account balances and interest cost.

Book value per share increased 4% year over year to $44.62 as of Dec 31, 2018.

Quarterly Segment Details

U.S.

Adjusted earnings in this segment increased 38% year over year to $685 million, driven by the U.S. tax reform and volume growth.
Adjusted premiums, fees & other revenues were $5.7 billion, down 5%.
The decline is attributable to lower pension risk transfer transactions in Retirement and Income Solutions.

Asia

Operating earnings of $281 million declined 9% (8% on constant currency basis) year over year as volume growth was more than offset by unfavorable underwriting and weaker capital markets.
Adjusted premiums, fees & other revenues of $2.1 billion inched up 1% at constant currency.

Latin America

Operating earnings were $137 million, up 10% (19% at constant currency) year over year, driven by volume growth, lower expenses and favorable underwriting, partially offset by the negative impact of U.S. tax reform and lower equity markets impacting Chile encaje.

Adjusted premiums, fees & other revenues were $956 million, down 3% on a reported basis, while up 5% at constant currency, driven by volume growth across the region, led by Chile and Mexico.

EMEA

Operating earnings from EMEA decreased 30% (24% on constant currency basis) year over year to $55 million, as volume growth and lower expenses were more than offset by one-time items, unfavorable underwriting and the negative impact of U.S. tax reform.

Adjusted premiums, fees & other revenues were $642 million, down 1% year over year but up 3% at constant currency.

MetLife Holdings

Adjusted operating earnings from MetLife Holdings came in at $223 million, up 15% year over year.

Operating premiums, fees & other revenues were $1.4 billion, down 5% year over year.
 

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates.

VGM Scores

Currently, MetLife has an average Growth Score of C, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a D. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, MetLife has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.




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