MetLife

(MET) - Get Report

reported a 65% surge in first-quarter profits, as the big New York-based insurer handily beat Wall Street expectations.

In the quarter, MetLife earned $987 million, or $1.33 a share, compared with $598 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Total revenue rose 9.5% to $10.3 billion.

Earnings were fueled by strong growth in premium revenue and investment income.

On an operating basis, which excluded certain items, MetLife earned $821 million, or $1.11 a share. Analysts had predicted the insurer would earn 86 cents and generate revenue of $10.3 billion.

The company also raised its earnings guidance for the full year to between $3.90 and $4.05 a share. The company had earlier said it expected to earn between $3.50 and $3.65 a share.

In after-hours trading, shares of MetLife were trading sharply higher, rising $2.26, or 5.8%, to $41.10. On the day, shares of MetLife fell 2 cents to $38.84.

"MetLife had a remarkable first quarter,'' said Robert Benmosche, the insurer's chairman and chief executive officer.