MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) Sees Strong Short-Term Interest Growth

MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET – Get Rating) was the target of a significant increase in short-term interest in July. As of July 15, there was short interest totaling 11,270,000 shares, an increase of 27.9% from the June 30 total of 8,810,000 shares. Currently, 1.7% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 4,550,000 shares, the short interest ratio is currently 2.5 days.

MetLife Stock Performance

The MET was down $0.71 on Monday, hitting $62.54. The company had a trading volume of 123,544 shares, compared to an average volume of 4,573,956. MetLife has a 1-year low of $56.69 and a 1-year high of $73.18. The stock has a market capitalization of $50.86 billion, a PE ratio of 8.09, a P/E/G ratio of 0.50 and a beta of 1.08. The company has a quick ratio of 0.14, a current ratio of 0.14 and a debt ratio of 0.27. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $63.12 and a 200-day moving average price of $66.17.

MetLife (NYSE:MET – Get Rating) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 4. The financial services provider reported EPS of $2.08 for the quarter, beating consensus analyst estimates of $1.63 by $0.45. The company posted revenue of $17.72 billion for the quarter, versus analyst estimates of $16.81 billion. MetLife had a net margin of 9.63% and a return on equity of 12.04%. MetLife’s quarterly revenue increased 6.1% year over year. In the same period a year earlier, the company posted earnings per share of $2.20. As a group, research analysts expect MetLife to post EPS of 6.9 for the current fiscal year.

MetLife said its board approved a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, May 4 that sees the company repurchase $3.00 billion of outstanding stock. This repurchase authorization allows the financial services provider to repurchase up to 5.3% of its shares through purchases on the open market. Stock repurchase plans usually indicate that the company’s board of directors believe its stock is undervalued.

MetLife announces dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, September 14. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, August 9 will receive a dividend of $0.50. The ex-date of this dividend is Monday, August 8. This represents a dividend of $2.00 on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.20%. MetLife’s dividend payout ratio is currently 25.91%.

Analysts set new price targets

Several equity research analysts have recently released reports on MET stocks. Wolfe Research upgraded MetLife shares from a ‘market performance’ rating to an ‘outperform’ rating and raised its price target for the stock from $70.00 to $74.00 in a report research on Wednesday, June 22. Morgan Stanley lowered its price target on MetLife shares from $80.00 to $78.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a Wednesday, July 6 research report. Barclays set a price target of $75.00 on MetLife shares in a research report on Tuesday July 19. Citigroup began covering MetLife shares in a research report on Monday, May 23. They set a “buy” rating and a price target of $77.00 for the company. Finally, StockNews.com upgraded MetLife shares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a Wednesday, May 11 research report. One investment analyst gave the stock a hold rating and ten gave the company’s stock a buy rating. According to MarketBeat, the company currently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and a consensus price target of $76.36.

Institutional entries and exits

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently changed their positions in the company. Missouri Trust & Investment Co acquired a new stock position in MetLife during the fourth quarter worth approximately $26,000. Gradient Investments LLC increased its stake in MetLife shares by 89.5% during the second quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 449 shares of the financial services provider worth $28,000 after acquiring an additional 212 shares during the period. Citizens National Bank Trust Department acquired a new stock position in MetLife during the second quarter worth approximately $28,000. Sandy Cove Advisors LLC acquired a new stock position in MetLife during the fourth quarter worth approximately $30,000. Finally, Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC increased its position in MetLife by 307.7% during the second quarter. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC now owns 477 shares of the financial services provider worth $30,000 after purchasing an additional 360 shares during the period. 89.65% of the shares are currently held by institutional investors and hedge funds.

MetLife Company Profile

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MetLife, Inc, a financial services company, provides insurance, annuity, employee benefits and asset management services worldwide. It operates through five segments: United States; Asia; Latin America; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and MetLife Holdings. The company offers life, dental, group short and long term disability, individual disability, pet insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, vision, accident and sickness, and prepaid legal plans; administrative service arrangements only to employers; and general and separate accounts, and synthetic guaranteed interest contracts, as well as variable rate private financing agreements.

Further reading

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