MetLife’s Earnings Surprise

MetLife Inc. (NYSE:MET) announced an estimated loss of 9 cents per share for the first quarter after applying new guidance on deferred acquisition costs.

The company also said it estimated first-quarter revenue of $16.69 billion, compared with analysts’ expectations of $16.72 billion. Analysts had been expecting the largest life insurer in the U.S. to earn roughly $1.25 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The first-quarter net loss was $64 million, compared with net income of $877 million in the year-ago period. Results included a derivative loss of almost $2 billion in the three months ended March 31.

According to a regulatory filing today releasing preliminary results, MetLife’s operating earnings, excluding investment results, were around $1.37 a share. Operating revenue climbed 6.9 percent  to $16.7 billion on gains in Asia and the Americas.

Following the 2010 purchase of American Life Insurance Co., MetLife decided to pursue expansion outside the United States. In November, Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian reorganized leadership by giving top managers responsibility for geographic regions. MetLife is changing the presentation format for results. Inadvertently, the insurer made 2012 figures available on its website, while releasing year-earlier data to allow investors to understand the reorganization.

According to the company, the material could be accessed in ways to make visible the preliminary financial results for the first quarter of 2012 which were otherwise embedded in the document but not visible. MetLife posted a new version of the supplement with the preliminary financial results for the first quarter of 2012 to its website

The release of complete results will be changed from May 2 to April 26. Metlife shares closed at $35.38 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.