MetLife earnings hurt by interest rates, currency shifts

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MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer, posted earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts on Wednesday, though its profits were hurt by derivative losses.

Shares were up very slightly in after-hours trading. (Click here for the latest after-hours quote.)

Net profit fell to $471 million, or 43 cents per share, from $2.26 billion, or $2.12 per share, a year earlier. MetLife reported $1.1 billion in net derivative losses, mostly due to rising interest rates and changes in foreign currencies.

Excluding items, earnings climbed to $1.44 per share, up from $1.33 a share in the same period a year ago.

Revenue rose to $17.04 billion from $16.79 billion a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting the insurer to report earnings of $1.33 per share on revenue of $17.33 billion, according to estimates from Thomson Reuters.

MetLife, like its peers, is heavily exposed to persistently low interest rates. But it has long had a substantial derivatives program designed to smooth out that risk.

—CNBC with Reuters