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Why Is Brighthouse Financial (BHF) Down 5.1% Since Last Earnings Report?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Brighthouse Financial (BHF - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 5.1% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Brighthouse Financial due for a breakout? 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 catalysts.

Brighthouse Financial Q4 Earnings Miss, Revenues Beat

Brighthouse Financial's fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted net income of $1.56 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.74 by 10.3%. The bottom line however increased more than fourfold from 37 cents earned in the year-ago quarter.

The reported quarter witnessed continued sales growth in annuities and an improvement in net investment income.

For full year 2018, adjusted net income came in at $8.33 per share.

Behind the Headlines

Total revenues of $4 billion surged 114.1% year over year. It outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 96.5%.

Premiums of $223 million decreased 4.3% year over year.

Adjusted net investment income was $863 million in the quarter under review, up 10.6% year over year. This improvement was fueled by growth in average invested assets, the ongoing repositioning of the investment portfolio, and higher alternative investment income.  Investment income yield was 4.48%.

Corporate expenses of $233 million pretax decreased 3.7% year over year.

Total expenses increased 6.5% year over year to $2.2 billion on increase in amortization of deferred acquisition costs and value of business acquired, and higher interest expense.

Quarterly Segment Update

Annuities reported adjusted operating income of $175 million, down 15.9% year over year reflecting higher deferred acquisition costs amortization, higher reserves and lower fees, driven primarily by negative market performance in the quarter, and higher claims, partially offset by higher net investment income and lower expenses. Annuity sales increased 27% to $1.7 billion, driven by solid sales of Shield and fixed indexed annuities.

Life generated adjusted operating income of $64 million, having increased nearly 13-fold year over year on lower claims and higher net investment income. Life insurance sales were $1 million, down 67% year over year.

Adjusted operating earnings of Run-off was $18 million, rebounding from the year-ago loss of $80 million.

Adjusted operating loss at Corporate & Other was $71 million, which compared unfavorably with prior-year earnings of $859 million due to lower net investment income and higher interest expense on debt.

Financial Update

Cash and cash equivalents were $4.1 billion, up 123% year over year.

Shareholders’ equity of $14.4 billion at quarter-end decreased 0.7% year over year.

Book value per share, accumulated other comprehensive income, was $116.58 as of Dec 31, 2018, up 8.8% year over year.

Share Buyback Program

Brighthouse Financial bought back shares worth $63 million in the fourth quarter taking the full-year total to $105 million.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

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

VGM Scores

Currently, Brighthouse Financial has an average Growth Score of C, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with an A. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. 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, Brighthouse Financial has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.




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