May. 14, 2014, 1:18 PM
- In a search for yield, U.S. life insurers have significantly boosted issuance of Funding Agreement Note Issuance Program debt (FANIPs), says Moody's. Insurers use the FANIPs for funding, tilting the investing of the proceeds - given today's low-rate environment - in things like commercial mortgages, public corporate debt, and private placements.
- Popular pre-crisis and stagnant since, "these funding agreement instruments are showing signs of life," says Moody's analyst Rokhaya Cisse. This year through April, issuance is up by about 56% to $8.8B from the same year-ago period. Among the seven insurers which have issued the funding this year are MetLife (MET -1.7%), Principal Financial (PFG -1.4%), and Prudential (PRU -1.6%).
- While Moody's doesn't expect issuance to reach pre-crisis levels, the boosted level "is credit negative because they present liquidity and asset-liability management risks that can emerge during capital markets disruptions."
May. 12, 2014, 12:04 PM
- Th sale of a 50% interest to MetLife (MET +1.4%) values the Republic Plaza office building at $480M. Brookfield (BPO) will retain management and leasing responsibilities. Net proceeds to Brookfield are about $98M.
- The property is 95.2% leased with a weighted average remaining lease term of six years. The two largest tenants - Encana Gas & oil and DCP Midstream - occupy just less than 50% of the space.
- Source: Press Release
May. 1, 2014, 11:11 AM
- Down more than 3% after an earnings miss last night, MetLife (MET -0.5%) claws back towards break-even on the session, helped by some sell-side defenders. KBW reiterates its Outperform rating on the stock, and Scotiabank, viewing Q1 results as reasonably positive, says Met remains one of its top picks in the life insurance sector. The team's price target is $59.
- Previously: MetLife off 3.3% after-hours on earnings miss
Apr. 30, 2014, 4:19 PM
- Operating earnings of $1.6B off 4% Y/Y, with operating earnings per share of $1.37 off 7%. Book value per share (excluding AOCI) of $49.34 vs. $47.37 a year ago.
- Americas: Operating earnings of $1.3B up 3% Y/Y. Premiums, fees & other revenues of $8.9B up 4%. Latin America: Operating earnings of $183M up 28%, with the ProVida purchase helping. Asia: Operating earnings of $328M fell 2%, but gained 8% on a constant currency basis. EMEA: Operating earnings of $88M up 1%, up 2% on a constant currency basis.
- Net investment income of $5.1B is unchanged.
- CC tomorrow at 8 ET
- Source: Press Release
- Previously: MetLife, Inc. misses by $0.03, misses on revenue
- MET -3.3% AH
Apr. 30, 2014, 4:07 PM
Apr. 22, 2014, 11:18 AM
- MetLife (MET +1.6%) is the strongest gainer in the life insurance sector after boosting its quarterly dividend by 27.3% to $0.35 per share. "Today's action by MetLife's board highlights our focus on returning capital to shareholders," says Chairman and CEO Steve Kandarian.
- The move comes as a frustrated management awaits word from D.C. on whether it will be designated a SIFI, and over just what the capital rules will be for insurers.
Apr. 22, 2014, 10:37 AM
Apr. 16, 2014, 3:18 PM
- Alongside Barclays' Jay Gelb's upgrade of Lincoln Financial (LNC +2.3%) to Overweight is a downgrade of Reinsurance Group of America (RGA -0.3%) to Equal Weight and cut in the price target to $81 from $88, citing increased competition in the life reinsurance market.
- For Lincoln, Gelb has boosted confidence in the company's ability to generate strong earnings growth despite the low interest rate environment.
- His top picks in the sector remain Prudential (PRU +1.6%), MetLife (MET +0.8%), Aflac (AFL +1.5%), and Protective Life (PL +1.2%), and he has a "positive outlook" on AIG and Hartford Financial (HIG +1.4%).
- "AFL has a top-tier ROE as well as robust share buybacks, and should benefit in 2015 from the Japan Post partnership," writes Gelb, noting yen weakness will hurt GAAP earnings, but the company has hedged profit repatriation back to the States. AIG and HIG, he says, "should deliver substantial share buybacks along with attractive valuations and ultimately higher ROEs."
- ETFs: KIE, IAK, KBWI, KBWP
Apr. 7, 2014, 7:39 AM
Apr. 3, 2014, 3:34 PM
- Improvement in the economy and the expectation of higher interest rates are behind Moody's lifting its outlook on MetLife (MET +0.5%) to stable from negative. The agency also affirms the insurer's A3 credit rating.
- "Over the past year, positive momentum has been attained at the company in lowering risk related to variable annuity guaranteed benefits, improving capital transparency relating to its 'onshoring' of its captive insurers. and shifting away from higher risk and capital intensive products in favor of fee-based and protection businesses."
Apr. 2, 2014, 4:26 AM
- Blackstone (BX) is reportedly in discussions to sell six office properties in the Boston area for $2.5B, with potential buyers including MetLife (MET).
- Separately, Blackstone has agreed to acquire a 49% holding in an office property in San Francisco called One Market Plaza in a deal that values the two-tower complex at just over $1.2B. Blackstone is purchasing the stake from Paramount Group, which will continue to own the rest of the property.
- The deal is Blackstone's second in what it considers core and core-plus real estate, which refers to low-risk, well-leased buildings in major markets that provide a stable return.
Apr. 1, 2014, 7:20 AM
Mar. 31, 2014, 2:55 PM
- New York's Department of Financial Services charged MetLife (MET +0.8%) subsidiaries ALICO and DelAm with using Manhattan-based personnel to solicit business even though neither company was licensed to do so in New York. Both units were purchased from AIG in 2010, and there is an ongoing investigation of that company and the subsidiaries before the sale.
Mar. 27, 2014, 2:28 PM
- Struggling one day after the CCAR results are insurers AIG (AIG -0.9%), MetLife (MET -2.3%), and Prudential (PRU -2.6%). The group wasn't part of the CCAR process, but is potentially under the thumb of the Fed as it relates to capital returns.
- If there is one takeaway from the CCAR, it's that the Fed - if anything - is getting even tougher with the larger institutions as it relates to capital returns. Citigroup was rejected and BofA and Goldman - facing rejection - were forced to dial back plans and resubmit their requests. "CCAR highlighted the challenges large-caps have in returning excess capital," said Goldman's Richard Ramsden earlier today.
Mar. 25, 2014, 9:46 AM
- "We share your frustration," writes MetLife (MET +1.2%) CEO Steve Kandarian in his letter to shareholders in the company annual report. “It is taking much longer for clarity on the capital rules than anyone had anticipated."
- Met currently awaits word from the nation's capital on whether it will be designated a systemically important financial institution. Kandarian doesn't believe the company poses a threat to the financial system, but if it is deemed so, than the Fed should impose rules designed for insurers, not banks.
- “If federal capital rules for life insurers do not appropriately reflect the business model of insurance, we could be forced to raise prices to consumers or exit markets entirely ... Regulators in Washington must recognize that imposing higher capital requirements on certain life insurance companies is not cost-free.”
- Met did boost its dividend about a year ago and did buy Malaysia's AmLife and Chile's Provida, but the insurer hasn't bought back shares in a number of years.
Mar. 19, 2014, 3:13 PM
- A check of sectors following the FOMC statement and updated projections suggesting a quickened pace of rate hikes in the future finds the banks and life insurers notably moving higher. Both groups have struggled earning a spread amid ZIRP and are positively levered to higher rates.
- Lenders: Bank of America (BAC +1%), Citigroup (C +1%), JPMorgan (JPM), Regions (RF +1.7%), KeyCorp (KEY +0.9%), SunTrust (STI +0.7%).
- Life insurers: MetLife (MET +1%), Prudential (PRU +0.7%), Lincoln National (LNC +1%).
- Related ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, VFH, IYF, KIE, SEF, IYG, IAK, FXO, PFI, KBWB, FNCL, FINU, RWW, RYF, PSCF, KBWP, KBWI, FINZ, KBE, KRE
- Not necessarily positively levered to higher rates are the mortgage REITs (REM -1.6%): Annaly (NLY -1.8%), American Capital (AGNC -1.7%), (MTGE -1.9%), Armour (ARR -1.3%), Two Harbors (TWO -2%) CYS Investments (CYS -3.3%), Capstead (CMO -1.3%), MFA (MFA -1.8%).
- Related ETFs: MORT, MORL
MET vs. ETF Alternatives
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.
Other News & PR