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MetLife, Inc. (MET)

  • Tue, Mar. 3, 3:57 PM
    • MetLife (MET +0.1%) in January sued the Financial Stability Oversight Council over its designation of the insurer as a systemically important. The two parties have now asked a court to agree to give the FSOC until May 7, rather than March 16, to respond.
    • The case is an important one as it could shed some light on exactly what the secretive council was looking at when it decided to hand out the non-bank SIFI label to not just MetLife, but also AIG and Prudential (who are not involved in any suit against the Council).
  • Wed, Feb. 25, 2:35 PM
    • At issue were mortgages issued which MetLife (MET -0.3%) allegedly knew did not meet GSE standards, but which the insurer allowed to be insured by Frannie anyway. MetLife had previously reserved for the fine and, of course, exited the mortgage business a few years back.
    • In other news, the company boosts the size of its board to 13 with the addition of Ned Kelly who has been in the financial services business for four decades, most recently as chairman of the institutional clients group at Citigroup.
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  • Wed, Feb. 11, 4:27 PM
    • Q4 operating earnings of $1.6B up 2% Y/Y; EPS of $1.38 up 1%. Operating ROE of 11.3%. Book value excluding AOCI of $49.53 up 5% Y/Y.
    • Company-wide premiums, fees, and other revenues of $13.134B up marginally from a year ago.
    • The Americas operating earnings of $1.5B up 4%, up 6% constant currency from a year ago.
    • Asia operating earnings of $335M up 3%, up 9% constant currency from a year ago. Premiums, fees, and other revenues down 3%, up 6% constant currency.
    • EMEA operating earnings of $85M, down 4%, up 9% constant currency.
    • Net investment income of $5.1B down 3%.
    • Conference call tomorrow at 8 ET
    • Previously: MetLife beats by $0.02, beats on revenue (Feb. 11)
    • MET +0.2% after hours
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  • Wed, Feb. 11, 4:16 PM
    • MetLife (NYSE:MET): Q4 EPS of $1.38 beats by $0.02.
    • Revenue of $18.24B (-0.5% Y/Y) beats by $120M.
    • Shares +0.75%.
    • Press Release
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  • Tue, Feb. 10, 5:35 PM
  • Fri, Feb. 6, 9:50 AM
    • Financials have been mercilessly pounded in 2015 as hopes for higher interest rates looked like they might be dashed yet again, but today's blowout jobs number - firmly putting a June rate hike on the table - has brought in the dip-buyers.
    • The major averages are flat, but the XLF is up 1.4%. The Regional Bank ETF (KRE +2%) and the Bank ETF (KBE +2.1%) are doing even better.
    • Among the yield-starved banking names: Bank of America (BAC +3.1%), JPMorgan (JPM +2.6%), Citigroup (C +2%), Regions Financial (RF +4%), KeyCorp (KEY +3%), PNC Financial (PNC +2.9%), SunTrust (STI +2.3%), Zions (ZION +3.6%), Synovus (SNV +2.3%).
    • Insurers: MetLife (MET +2%), Prudential (PRU +3.2%), Lincoln National (LNC +4.6%). AIG (AIG +1.5%).
    • Trust banks: BNY Mellon (BK +2.7%) State Street (STT +1.9%), Northern Trust (NTRS +2.3%).
    • Online brokers (currently getting killed on money-market fee rebates): Schwab (SCHW +4.5%), TD Ameritrade (AMTD +3.5%), E*Trade (ETFC +2.1%).
  • Sat, Jan. 24, 4:48 PM
    • The financial sector is off to a worse start to the year than even the energy names, with the XLF down 3.9% YTD vs. the XLE's 3.2% decline. The S&P 500 is roughly flat. The SPDR KBW Bank ETF (NYSEARCA:KBE) is off 7.5%, and the Regional Bank ETF (NYSEARCA:KRE) is lower by 6.9%.
    • Q4 earnings results haven't been wonderful, but financial names had been savaged well before those reports started coming out. Instead there's a difficult regulatory regime that won't quit, and - for now - it's looking like "wait'll next year" for the rising interest rates that were supposed to drive profit margins higher. The 10-year/2-year spread - already pretty low at 150 basis points to start the year - has narrowed to 137 bps.
    • A partial roll call of banks: Bank of America (NYSE:BAC-12.1% YTD, Citigroup (NYSE:C-10.1%, JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM-9.4%, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS-9.4%, Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) -14.7%, KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) -4.5%, PNC Financial (NYSE:PNC-5.4%, Bank of New York (NYSE:BK-9.1%, Capital One (NYSE:COF) -6%, Discover (NYSE:DFS-13.6%.
    • Other spread-starved sector names: MetLife (NYSE:MET-9.8%, AIG (NYSE:AIG-8%, Prudential (NYSE:PRU-10.8%, Schwab (NYSE:SCHW-9.9%.
    • Some of what's working in financials: Blackstone (NYSE:BX+6.7%, E*Trade (NASDAQ:ETFC+1.2%, WisdomTree (NASDAQ:WETF+12.3%, Legg Mason +2.8%.
  • Tue, Jan. 13, 1:06 PM
    • “We post collateral on a nightly basis, back and forth with our counterparties,” MetLife (MET -0.7%) CEO Steve Kandarian tells Bloomberg. “If you’re using derivatives to take risk, that’s one question. In our instance, we’re using to hedge our risk.” Kandarian reminds it cost MetLife less than $20M to rewrite derivative contracts after the Lehman collapse ... "One day of profits of MetLife."
    • Previously: MetLife to sue U.S. over SIFI desigation (Jan. 13)
    • "We will be taking this action [the lawsuit against the government] in a very respectful way," says Kandarian, no doubt realizing he's breaking an unwritten rule of industry - companies stay quiet in the face of regulatory nonsense, and regulators, in turn, look the other way as companies conduct day-to-day business. Kandarian says he doesn't expect MetLife to be treated any differently as a result of its challenge.
    • The largest U.S. life insurer, MetLife didn't receive any bailout monies from the U.S. during the financial crisis (Kandarian was CFO at the time).
    | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Jan. 13, 7:43 AM
    • MetLife (NYSE:MET) CEO Steven Kandarian: "[The Financial Stability Oversight Council] has designated non-bank SIFIs before the rules governing these companies have even been written ... It is not enough to designate companies as SIFIs merely because they are big."
    • Source: Press Release
    • Previously: MetLife designated systemically important (Dec. 18, 2014)
  • Mon, Jan. 12, 3:11 PM
    • While rivals at AIG and Prudential have quietly accepted their designation as non-bank SIFIs, MetLife (MET -1.1%) - arguing the label will require the holding of too much capital, putting it a competitive disadvantage and crimping dividends/buybacks - has not. Led by CEO Steven Kandarian - who once headed the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. - Met has until Friday to file a lawsuit challenging the government's assessment.
    • “Steve is not a gunslinger-type person,” says Wlibur Ross, who battled Kandarian when he was a government official. If he sues the U.S., “it will only be because he is totally convinced his position is right and the government is wrong.”
    • Legal experts say winning a lawsuit against a regulator is tough, but not impossible.
    | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Jan. 8, 9:58 AM
    • MetLife (MET +0.9%) had been the team's Outperform pick in the sector, but it's been downgraded to Neutral.
    • Upgraded to Outperform from Neutral are Lincoln Financial (LNC +2%) and Principal Financial Group (PFG +2.1%), with the team suggesting those two are a little less reliant on higher rates for improved earnings.
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  • Thu, Jan. 8, 9:43 AM
    • "We continue to view AIG (AIG) as the best positioned non-bank SIFI among the Big 3 (MET and PRU are the others) with regard to probability of returning the highest proportion of earnings both now and in the future as federal regulation unfolds," says Credit Suisse, downgrading AIG to Neutral from Outperform, and cutting the price target by $1 to $59.
    • However, says the team, AIG is nearing its maximum sustainable payout ratio, while both MetLife and Prudential have room to go higher. By Credit Suisse's calculations, AIG's capital returns are near 100% of GAAP earnings vs. 35-45% for MET and PRU.
  • Tue, Jan. 6, 4:21 PM
    • MetLife (NYSE:MET) declares $0.35/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 2.77%
    • Payable March 13; for shareholders of record Feb. 6; ex-div Feb. 4.
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  • Tue, Jan. 6, 3:30 PM
    • It's been a rough start to the year for the group as investors - who had bid up the names at least partly in hope of higher interest rates giving a boost to returns - rethink those assumptions yet again as the 10-year Treasury yield tumbles below 2%.
    • MetLife (MET -2.5%), Prudential (PRU -1.5%), Manulife (MFC -2.2%), Sun Life (SLF -3.2%), Lincoln National (LNC -2.8%), Primerica (PRI -1.5%), Voya Financial (VOYA -2.1%).
  • Dec. 18, 2014, 4:12 PM
    • Not much of a surprise, MetLife (NYSE:MET) is notified by the Financial Stability Oversight Council of its designation as a SIFI. Also no surprise, the company registers its "disappointment" over the move.
    • "As we have said many times, singling out two large life insurance companies [Prudential as well] for SIFI designation will harm competition, lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers, and ultimately could result in less financial protection for middle-class families who need it the most."
    • MetLife has thirty days to seek judicial review of the FSOC decision, and is considering its next move.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Previously: MetLife SIFI case gets stronger as it passes Goldman in assets (Dec. 18, 2014)
    | 1 Comment
  • Dec. 18, 2014, 8:46 AM
    • MetLife's (NYSE:MET) balance sheet expanded this year to more than $900B in assets, passing Goldman Sachs to become the 5th-largest S&P 500 company on that metric. MetLife is also bigger than Prudential Financial and AIG - both of which have already been designated as SIFIs.
    • "There’s probably not a chance that they escape," says Macquarie's Sean Dargan. "I'm working under the assumption that Met is going to be a SIFI.”
    • Size alone doesn't necessarily make a company systemically important, says a former Treasury official, noting assets can be transferred to other firms if they can perform the same functions. Nevertheless, MetLife seems resigned to its fate, and is now getting ready to work with the Fed on designing capital rules aimed at insurance rather than banking.
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Company Description
MetLife Inc is a provider of insurance, annuities & employee benefit programs in United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe & Middle East. It offers life insurance, annuities, property & casualty insurance, and other financial services.
Sector: Financial
Industry: Life Insurance
Country: United States