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

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 lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, MetLife fell $1.05 (-2.6%) to $39.15 on average volume. Throughout the day, 11.8 million shares of MetLife exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.6 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $38.93-$39.74 after having opened the day at $39.61 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $40.20. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: Donegal Group ( DGICB), down 6.4%, ING Groep N.V ( ING), down 4.7%, Prudential ( PUK), down 4.2%, and National Interstate Corporation ( NATL), down 3.8%.
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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 $43.94 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 37.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 22% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate MetLife a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates MetLife as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, American Independence Corporation ( AMIC), up 6.3%, eHealth ( EHTH), up 5.8%, First Acceptance Corporation ( FAC), up 5.3%, and Federated National ( FNHC), up 4.7%, were all gainers within the insurance industry with Radian Group ( RDN) 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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