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Metlife Inc : MetLife Posts Wider 1Q Loss Than Projected On Larger Investment Losses

04/26/2012 | 10:08pm US/Eastern

("MetLife Posts Wider 1Q Loss Than Projected On Smaller Tax Benefit," published at 4:59 p.m. EDT, and a correction at 5:38 p.m. misstated the reason for MetLife's wider loss. The correct version follows:)

MetLife Inc. (MET) reported a wider first-quarter loss than it projected last week as the life insurer posted larger net investment losses.

Last Friday, the biggest U.S. insurer reported preliminary results after inadvertently posting some of its financial data on its website ahead of the scheduled release.

The company posted a loss of $144 million, or 16 cents a share, widening from the $64 million it estimated last week and compared with the year-earlier profit of $877 million. It posted net investment losses of $110 million, versus the $30 million projected last week.

Operating earnings, which exclude investment gains and losses, came in at $1.37 a share, as reported last Friday. Operating revenue, which likewise strips out some investment effects, also was unchanged at $16.69 billion, up 6.9%.

The bottom-line result was driven by net derivative losses of $1.98 billion, while the year-earlier period's loss was a mere $315 million. Like its fellow insurers, MetLife uses derivatives to hedge a number of risks, including changes in interest rates and fluctuations in foreign currencies.

MetLife said earlier Thursday it is selling its reverse-mortgage business, its latest move to avoid increased regulatory scrutiny and stay focused on its core operations.

In March, it failed "stress tests" by the Federal Reserve that were aimed at gauging the capital adequacy of 19 of the biggest U.S. financial firms under a severe economic worsening.

MetLife shares closed Thursday at $36.47 and were inactive after hours. The stock is up 17% so far this year.

-By Lauren Pollock, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2356; lauren.pollock@dowjones.com

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