Will This Upgrade Help MetLife (MET) Stock?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- MetLife's (MET) outlook was upgraded to "stable" from "negative" by Moody's (MCO) in a report published late Thursday afternoon. The firm also affirmed the insurer's A3 credit rating.

Moody's cited improvement by the economy and the expectation of rising interest rates as a reason for the upgrade.

MetLife shares closed up 0.5% to $53.92.

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"As the largest US life insurance company with an excellent, well diversified business profile and good financial profile supported by diversified sources of earnings, the improving environment is expected to bolster MetLife's profitability and earnings and coverage metrics, which had been constrained by low interest rates, volatile equity markets and weak economic growth,." Moody's said. 

"Over the past year, positive momentum has been attained at the company in lowering risk related to variable annuity guaranteed benefits, improving capital transparency relating to its 'onshoring' of its captive insurers. and shifting away from higher risk and capital intensive products in favor of fee-based and protection businesses," Moody's added.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates METLIFE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate METLIFE INC (MET) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, good cash flow from operations, 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 shows low profit margins."

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