U.S. life insurer MetLife reported late Tuesday that Q1 operating earnings rose beyond analyst expectations. Net earnings came in at $983 million ($1.28/share), up 37% from $714 million ($0.93) a year ago, when results were affected by investment and derivatives losses. Analysts were expecting $1.28. Operating earnings (a measure that excludes investments) were a record $1.08 billion ($1.41/share), up from $1.03 billion ($1.33) last year. This result exceeded Street expectations of $1.29/share. Premiums, fees and other revenue rose 6% to $8.4 billion. The company's shares closed at $65.86. They have gained 26% over the past year, more than twice the gain of the S&P insurance index. Last year, MetLife sold two large New York residential complexes -- Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvestant Town -- for $5.4 billion, after which it reported a $3 billion after-tax gain. Some analysts speculate that more real estate transactions may be forthcoming. Shares rose 0.6% in AH trading to $66.25.
Sources: Press release, CNBC, Reuters, Bloomberg, MarketWatch
Commentary: Tracking Money Flow in Financial Stocks
Stocks/ETFs to watch: MetLife, Inc. (MET). Competitors: Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU), American International Group, Inc. (AIG), Allianz SE (AZ). ETFs: KBW Insurance ETF (KIE), iShares Dow Jones US Insurance (IAK), Rydex S&P Equal Weight Financials (RYF)
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