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MetLife Inc (MET): Today's Featured Insurance Laggard

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

MetLife ( MET) pushed the Insurance industry lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.7%. By the end of trading, MetLife fell $0.57 (-1.1%) to $50.74 on average volume. Throughout the day, 6,172,860 shares of MetLife exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6,190,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $50.60-$51.38 after having opened the day at $51.35 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.31. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: AmTrust Financial Services ( AFSI), down 7.2%, Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), down 7.2%, Baldwin & Lyons ( BWINB), down 6.0% and NMI Holdings Inc Class A ( NMIH), down 4.5%.

MetLife, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs in the United States, Japan, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. MetLife has a market cap of $57.4 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 55.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate MetLife a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates MetLife as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, HCI Group ( HCI), up 5.1%, National Security Group ( NSEC), up 3.5%, American Independence Corporation ( AMIC), up 2.9% and Unico American Corporation ( UNAM), up 2.6% , were all gainers within the insurance industry with Fidelity National Financial ( FNF) being today's featured insurance industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the insurance industry could consider KBW Insurance ETF ( KIE) while those bearish on the insurance industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).

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