MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) is joining the other major financial stocks of late with its shares getting clocked this morning to new multi-year lows. Last night, the insurer said earnings would be $0.83 to $0.93 per share, much worse than expectations. Estimates from First Call are $1.44. On top of this, it posted wider losses on assets and it is raising cash.
MetLife noted that variable investment income was $0.16 per share underplan and investment gains included $490 million in credit-relatedlosses. Unrealized losses on fixed maturity securities were$17 billion.
To add fuel to the fire, the insurer said it will sell 75 millionshares to prop up liquidity. It must not have seen the reactionelsewhere on financial firms announcing stock sales.
Shares closed at $36.87 yesterday, which is at the very bottom of its range of the last 52-weeks. Unfortunately, that is anold range now. Shares are trading down almost 20% at $29.50 inpre-market trading.
Barron’s recently noted "Snoopy Braves The Turbulent Skies" and said shares could rise by 50% when shares were around $45.00. That would imply a $67.50 price if you took it at face value. That 50% call would now be a more than 100% gain if it comes to fruition.
The beatings continue.
Jon C. Ogg
October 8, 2008