NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of MetLife Inc. (MET - Get Report) are are up 1.76% to $55.62 in pre-market trade after the life insurance company announced its first stock buybacks since 2008 as CEO Steven Kandarian seeks to reward investors, Bloomberg reports.
The company will repurchase up to $1 billion of common stock utilizing existing authorizations from its board, according to a company statement.
TheStreet Ratings team rates METLIFE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate METLIFE INC (MET) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, solid stock price performance, 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."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- METLIFE INC has improved earnings per share by 31.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, METLIFE INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.91 versus $1.09 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.65 versus $2.91).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 34.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $986.00 million to $1,328.00 million.
- Powered by its strong earnings growth of 31.03% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 26.63% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
- MET, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 7.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.3%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
- Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: MET Ratings Report