Metlife Inc (MET) Short Interest Down 28.9% in June

Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) was the recipient of a significant decline in short interest during the month of June. As of June 29th, there was short interest totalling 12,020,672 shares, a decline of 28.9% from the June 15th total of 16,900,543 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 7,086,353 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.7 days. Approximately 1.4% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Several brokerages have recently issued reports on MET. Zacks Investment Research raised Metlife from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday. B. Riley reduced their target price on Metlife from $58.00 to $50.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Monday. ValuEngine raised Metlife from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, April 26th. Barclays reduced their target price on Metlife from $60.00 to $57.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, July 9th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on Metlife from $53.00 to $52.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, July 11th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. Metlife has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $56.31.

In other news, Director Gerald L. Hassell bought 10,000 shares of Metlife stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 9th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $46.18 per share, with a total value of $461,800.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.34% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. increased its stake in Metlife by 6.2% during the second quarter. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. now owns 28,481 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,242,000 after acquiring an additional 1,674 shares during the last quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan boosted its position in shares of Metlife by 47.5% during the second quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 40,510 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,766,000 after buying an additional 13,050 shares during the period. GWM Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Metlife by 32.2% during the second quarter. GWM Advisors LLC now owns 6,178 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $269,000 after buying an additional 1,506 shares during the period. FNY Investment Advisers LLC purchased a new position in shares of Metlife during the second quarter valued at approximately $112,000. Finally, Shoker Investment Counsel Inc. boosted its position in shares of Metlife by 38.0% during the second quarter. Shoker Investment Counsel Inc. now owns 6,836 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $298,000 after buying an additional 1,883 shares during the period. 77.27% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Metlife opened at $44.17 on Friday, according to Marketbeat.com. The company has a current ratio of 0.15, a quick ratio of 0.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30. Metlife has a 1-year low of $43.09 and a 1-year high of $55.91. The company has a market cap of $44.92 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.82, a P/E/G ratio of 0.76 and a beta of 1.23.

Metlife (NYSE:MET) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 2nd. The financial services provider reported $1.36 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.19. Metlife had a return on equity of 8.70% and a net margin of 6.48%. The company had revenue of $15.15 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $15.52 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.20 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that Metlife will post 5.07 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Metlife announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Tuesday, May 22nd that authorizes the company to buyback $1.50 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to purchase up to 3.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 13th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 6th will be paid a dividend of $0.42 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 3rd. This represents a $1.68 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.80%. Metlife’s payout ratio is currently 37.33%.

About Metlife

MetLife, Inc engages in the insurance, annuities, employee benefits, and asset management businesses. It operates through five segments: U.S.; Asia; Latin America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and MetLife Holdings. The company offers life, dental, group short- and long-term disability, individual disability, accidental death and dismemberment, vision, and accident and health coverages, as well as prepaid legal plans; administrative services-only arrangements to employers; and stable value products, including general and separate account guaranteed interest contracts, and private floating rate funding agreements.

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