Despite "unprecedented markets" that have pushed down securities prices, MetLife Inc. said Monday, it expects to report as much as $2 billion of net income for the fourth quarter, though it may post a small operating loss.

In the quarter hedging programs designed to protect against currency and interest rate fluctuations are "way in the money" as Treasury yields drop and exchange rates strengthen, William Wheeler, MetLife's chief financial officer, said Monday. On an operating basis, the company said, its bottom line will fall between a loss of 5 cents a share and a 20-cent profit, because of a "significant decline" in variable investment income and the weak stock market. Analysts had expected 74 cents a share, on average.

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