UPDATE 1-MetLife posts loss on impairment, derivative losses

Oct 31 (Reuters) - MetLife Inc, the largest U.S. life insurer, reported a third-quarter loss on a large goodwill impairment charge and derivative losses tied to its credit spreads and a change in interest rates.

However, operating profit beat Wall Street expectations, helped by strong growth in its major markets, especially the Americas.

MetLife lost $984 million, or 92 cents per share, in the quarter, compared with a year-earlier profit of $3.43 billion, or $3.21 per share.

On an operating basis, it earned $1.32 per share.

Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn $1.28 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The results included a $1.6 billion goodwill impairment charge on its U.S. retail annuity business.

MetLife has long had a substantial derivatives program designed to smooth out risks associated with low interest rates.

But the company said the impact of its credit spreads and increases in interest rates during the quarter resulted in derivative net losses of $543 million, after tax, compared with net gains of $2.8 billion last year.

The company said operating earnings in the Americas grew 58 percent, driven by strength in retail and group life insurance, and significantly lower catastrophe losses.

Net investment income rose 2 percent to $5 billion.

The Federal Reserve last month extended the deadline for MetLife to resubmit its capital plans while the company works to complete the sale of its bank deposit-taking operations to GE Capital.

MetLife was one of four financial institutions to fail the Fed's stress test in March this year.

MetLife shares were marginally up in trading after the bell. They closed at $35.49 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.