Investment losses and poor performance in variable annuity businesses pulled down major life insurers' third-quarter results.
MetLife Inc., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Prudential Financial Inc., and Ameriprise Financial Inc. reported their results after the markets closed Wednesday, weeks after they preannounced some of the bad news that was to come. Hartford and MetLife each raised more than $2 billion in fresh capital this month. Hartford's was a $2.5 billion investment by the German insurer Allianz SE; MetLife closed on a $2.3 billion public offering .
MetLife was the only one of the four to report a profit: $630 million, or 83 cents a share. That was down 38% from the net income of $1.02 billion, or $1.29 a share, it reported for last year's third quarter.
MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer by assets, said operating earnings fell to 88 cents a share, from $1.46, excluding investment gains and losses and one-time items. Revenue climbed 15%, to $13.38 billion.
In its preannouncement, MetLife had said it expected operating earnings of $600 million to $675 million, or 83 to 93 cents a share, on revenue of about $8.6 billion, up 16%.
Prudential swung to a net loss of $166 million, from net income of $867 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 16%, to $7.04 billion.
Prudential's financial services business posted a net loss of $108 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with net income of $860 million, or $1.88 a share, a year earlier. Financial services operating earnings fell to 74 cents a share, from $2.13, and financial services revenue fell 9.2%, to $6.15 billion.
Earlier, Prudential said it expected its financial services business to post after-tax adjusted operating income of $275 million to $375 million, or 67 cents to 90 cents a share.
Because of market volatility and "extraordinary events" affecting financial markets, Prudential withdrew its earnings guidance for 2008.
Hartford reported a net loss of $2.63 billion, or $8.74 a share, compared with net income of $851 million, or $2.68 a share, a year earlier.
The core loss, which excluded net realized investment gains and losses, was $1.40 a share. In the year-earlier period Hartford had core earnings of $3.33 a share.
The company forecast 2008 core earnings of $4.30 to $4.50 a share. Wall Street expected $5.25.
Ameriprise reported a net loss of $70 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with net income of $198 million, or 83 cents a share, a year earlier. Operating earnings rose to $1.04 a share, from 99 cents. Revenue dropped 22%, to $1.6 billion.