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Write-downs, Lower Investment Returns Give MetLife First Loss Since 2001

Posted on 01 May 2009

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The biggest U.S. life insurer, MetLife, reported its first quarterly loss since 2001 on write-downs and lower returns from investments.

The first-quarter net loss was $544 million, or 71 cents a share, compared with profit of $648 million, or 84 cents, in the year-earlier period, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Excluding some investment results, the company made 20 cents a share'

Chief Executive Officer Robert Henrikson diluted long-time shareholders last year with a $2.3 billion stock sale and accepted lower investment returns to improve liquidity. Life insurers have been pressured by the declining value of holdings backing policies and increased costs to protect retirement customers from losses on equity-linked products.