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MetLife Cuts 2008 Guidance

MetLife (MET) cut its 2008 profit guidance but sees opportunity for growth.

The New York insurance giant says it expects total operating earnings next year to be somewhere between $5.90 and $6.20 a share. That range is roughly flat with the company's projected operating earnings for 2007 of about $6.07.

Analysts expected MetLife to post earnings of $6.26 a share next year, according to Yahoo Finance.

The company, which is holding its annual investors' conference today, says it will post operating earning per share in a range between $1.40 and $1.45. That range compares with $1.36 a share in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.44 a share.

CEO Bob Henrikson said in a press release: "2007 is going to be another strong earnings year for MetLife."

MetLife also expects to achieve an operating return on equity of 13.0% to 13.6% and spend $2.2 billion in stock buybacks in 2008.

MetLife shares fell 91 cents to $64.68 in pre-market trading Monday.

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