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Bullish Barron's writeup for MetLife

"MetLife (MET) is one of the cheaper stocks in a sector that is, itself, cheap relative to the market," says Eric Hagemann, an analyst at Richard Pzena's Penza Investment Management (an owner of the shares). A check of price/book (excluding investment gains) finds Met at 1.1x - grouped with Hartford (HIG) at 0.9x and Lincoln Financial (LNC) at 1.1x - but well less than Prudential's (PRU) 1.6x.

Why the discount? Met is one of few remaining large financials not yet buying back any stock as it awaits direction from D.C. (which isn't expected until late this year or early next). In same boat, AIG and Prudential have both thrown caution to the wind and begun repurchases.

On the other hand Met has boosted its dividend to $1.10 per share annually and the payout could approach $1.50 in 2015. There was also last year's $2B acquisition of Chilean pension fund provider Provida. If the new regulatory capital rules are too onerous, a breakup of Met into domestic and international businesses is a possibility.

"In a record stock market, MetLife offers a nice package for investors: a rock-bottom P/E and price/book ratio, an attractive global franchise, and a financially astute management team," writes Andrew Bary.

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Comments (6)
  • the_value_vulture
    , contributor
    Comments (274) | Send Message
    Cheap relative to the market isn't saying enough at these nosebleed valuations. Deals anywhere are sparse.
    8 Mar 2014, 01:23 PM Reply Like
  • Edward J. Roche
    , contributor
    Comments (412) | Send Message
    Take a look at National Western Life (NWLI) - reported strong earnings yesterday.
    NWLI sells at 59% of Book value. Yes the dividend is small (Berkshire has none.) and you need to be ok with the ownership of the Moody family. But they have done a great job historically building this company. See my past article: "Deep Value at National Western Life". NWLI is a top 5 holding in my client accounts and a very significant holding in my individual accounts.


    Edward J. Roche
    President Freedom Mountain Investments
    8 Mar 2014, 02:08 PM Reply Like
  • marketnews09
    , contributor
    Comments (103) | Send Message
    I'm going to sell some of my mets when it gets back to,
    seventy two dollars a share. I think that met is adapting the ways of
    aig. Met is getting out there and so far, it looks like it is doing a darn good job
    I like the increase in real estate holdings as rentals. I'm happy.
    8 Mar 2014, 07:28 PM Reply Like
  • King Rat
    , contributor
    Comments (1216) | Send Message
    The difference between MET and PRU is that 2 years ago we roughly knew where their assets were. Right now I have more assurance with PRU, though that says little. It is not necessarily MET's fault, it may be to their credit, but their assets are so diversified no single investor could possibly "know what you invest in" with MET (or even so much PRU) invested in such a broad range of assets.


    I stopped owning MET a while back simply because as an individual, I couldn't keep track of where/what/how they were making a profit anymore. Unless you're a paid talking head (shill) you can't really be an expert in all areas of the economy, even though timely editing and teleprompters can make you look like one.
    9 Mar 2014, 03:51 AM Reply Like
  • King Rat
    , contributor
    Comments (1216) | Send Message
    though I should add, if I had a mutual fund with a high holding in MET I wouldn't sell it. I would just trust that the fund managers, actuaries, and research department collectively were able to do more research on MET than I can myself as an individual. Financials, conglomerates, and biotech/pharmaceuticals are three groups that individual investors (myself included) should probably leave to the pros (myself excluded).
    9 Mar 2014, 03:54 AM Reply Like
  • Scenic Dr
    , contributor
    Comments (177) | Send Message
    MetLife...YUCK! This company held two 403(b)s of mine and when I went to roll them over, they couldn't even send the company I was rolling them over to, the correct forms. They sent the checks for each account to two different places, even though they were instructed to send them to the same address. Because they screwed up, I insisted they overnight a check to the correct address. They refused, so I spoke with a supervisor who also refused. When I asked to speak to someone higher up I was told there wasn't anyone and this matter would have to go to their "resolution team." What a JOKE! My former employer warned me I'd have difficulty getting my money out of MetLife. Apparently, they are skilled at delay after delay and will do just about anything to hang on to a client's money. The whole process took over 60 days when it should have taken maybe 10 days. They're total skank! I'd never do business with them, let alone own their stock!
    10 Mar 2014, 02:51 AM Reply Like
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