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

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

MetLife ( MET) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.7%. By the end of trading, MetLife rose 85 cents (2.4%) to $35.95 on average volume. Throughout the day, 13.6 million shares of MetLife exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.1 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $35.32-$36.20 after having opened the day at $35.41 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $35.10. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: MBIA ( MBI), up 11.7%, Assured Guaranty ( AGO), up 5.5%, American Independence Corporation ( AMIC), up 3.7%, and Protective Life ( PL), up 3.7%.
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MetLife, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs in the United States, Japan, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. MetLife has a market cap of $38.35 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate MetLife a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and three rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates MetLife as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

On the negative front, eHealth ( EHTH), down 6.8%, United Insurance Holdings ( UIHC), down 2.8%, Crawford & Company ( CRD.B), down 2.3%, and Kingstone Companies ( KINS), down 1.7%, were all laggards within the insurance industry with Aflac ( AFL) being today's insurance industry laggard.

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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