Third-quarter profit at life insurance giant

MetLife

(MET) - Get Report

rose 35%, fueled by a big investment gain.

In the quarter, the New York-based insurer earned $999 million, or $1.29 a share, compared to $742 million, or 97 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 5% to $12.55 billion.

On an operating basis, which excludes investment gains and losses, the insurer earned $958 million, or $1.24 cents a share, up from $780 million, or $1.01 share. Using that measurement, MetLife beat the Thomson Financial consensus estimate of $1.17 cents a share. But revenue fell a bit below the consensus figure of $12.62 billion.

In some respects, the quarter was just so-so at MetLife.

Premium revenue rose less than 1% from a year ago to $6.58 billion. Net investment income rose 3% to $4.19 billion.

The insurer, however, managed to keep a lid on expenses. In the quarter, expenses rose just 2% to $11.24 billion.

Meanwhile, MetLife posted a big gain on investments. In the quarter, investment gains totaled $254 million in the quarter. A year ago, MetLife registered a $50 million investment loss.

Shares of MetLife closed Monday at $58.85, up 29 cents.