What To Buy: MetLife Inc's Buy Recommendation Reiterated

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- MetLife (NYSE: MET) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance 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.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, MET's share price has jumped by 42.31%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • METLIFE INC has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, METLIFE INC reported lower earnings of $1.09 versus $5.76 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.61 versus $1.09).
  • MET, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 8.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 14.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $4,581.00 million or 27.79% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 27.79%, METLIFE INC is in line with the industry average cash flow growth rate of -32.60%.

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 $53.6 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 48.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full MetLife Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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