Profit at MetLife Inc (MET), the largest U.S. life insurer, doubled in the second quarter after a huge gain on derivatives tied to falling interest rates, and operating results beat Wall Street expectations on double-digit growth in the Americas.
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The company, like its peers, is heavily exposed to the persistently low interest rate environment. But the company has long had a substantial derivatives program designed to smooth out that risk.
As rates fell in the quarter, the company booked a $1.4 billion gain on its derivatives positions and other items.
MetLife reported a profit of $2.26 billion, or $2.12 per share, compared with a year-earlier net profit of $1.07 billion or $1 per share.
On an operating basis it earned $1.33 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S on average expected earnings of $1.24 per share.
The company said operating earnings at its Americas segment grew 11 percent on strength in retail life insurance and annuity sales as well as in its group and voluntary benefits unit.