Analysts Upbeat on MetLife Stock Following Earnings

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors may not be entirely thrilled with MetLife's (MET) fourth-quarter earnings, but analysts see plenty of upside for the stock over the next year.

MetLife following Wednesday's market close reported fourth-quarter earnings of $877 million, or 77 cents a share, compared to net income of $96 million, or 9 cents a share, during the fourth quarter of 2012.

The fourth-quarter results were lowered by $242 million after tax from losses on derivatives, while results for the fourth quarter of 2012 included an after-tax charge of $752 million for deferred policy acquisition costs, "of which $342 million, after tax, was reflected in the after tax total of $855 million in net derivative losses."

On an operating basis, MetLife reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.6 billion, increasing 14% from $1.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2012. Operating earnings-per-share were up 10% to $1.37 from $1.25 a year earlier.

Premiums, fees and other revenue declined 1% from a year earlier to $13.077 billion during the fourth quarter, while total operating revenues were flat at $18.382 billion.

For all of 2013, net income totaled $3.246 billion, or $2.91 a share, increasing from $1.202 billion, or $1.12 a share, during 2012. Operating earnings for 2013 totaled $6.287 billion, up 11% from $5.686 billion in 2012, while operating EPS for the year totaled $5.63, rising 7% from $5.28 in 2012.

The company's fourth-quarter return on common equity was 11.5%, improving from 10.8% a year earlier. The return on common equity for all of 2013 was 12.0%, improving from 11.3% in 2012.

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