Financial Stocks Investors Put in Play After Earnings

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MetLife Inc. (NYSE:MET) reported net income above Wall Street’s expectations for the fourth quarter. Net income for MetLife Inc. rose to $1.16 billion ($1.06 per share) vs. $82 million (5 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a substantial increase from the year earlier quarter.  Revenue was $16.75 billion last quarter.  MetLife Inc. reported adjusted net income of $1.31 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $1.24 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $16.81 billion.

“MetLife had a solid year and a strong fourth quarter, even in the face of some significant market pressures,” said Steven A. Kandarian, chairman, president and chief executive officer of MetLife, Inc. “We delivered higher earnings per share over 2010. Our capital position is strong and getting stronger. And our ability to grow operating earnings in the face of low interest rates remains intact. In short, we think we’re the best-positioned company in the life insurance sector to deliver shareholder value.”

Competitors to Watch: Gastar Exploration Ltd. (AMEX:GST), Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC), and Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE:DVN).

Arch Capital Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:ACGL) posted lower net income in the fourth quarter compared with a year-earlier period. Net income for the property and casualty insurance company fell to $143.3 million ($1 per share) vs. $234.1 million ($1.51 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 38.8% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue fell 9.4% to $747.7 million from the year earlier quarter. Arch Capital Group Ltd. beat the mean analyst estimate of 65 cents per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $528.2 million.

Competitors to Watch: Endurance Specialty Hldgs. Ltd. (NYSE:ENH), Alterra Capital Hldgs. Ltd. (NASDAQ:ALTE), Allied World Assurance Co Hldgs., AG. (NYSE:AWH), PartnerRe Ltd. (NYSE:PRE), W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB), Everest Re Group, Ltd. (NYSE:RE), ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE), Argo Group Intl. Hldgs., Ltd. (NASDAQ:AGII), and Axis Capital Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:AXS).

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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