NEW YORK (AP) -- MetLife Inc. on Wednesday posted a loss for the third quarter, as it absorbed the sharply reduced value of its U.S. annuities businesses.
The big insurer lost $984 million, or 92 cents per share, in the July-September quarter. That compares with a profit of $3.4 billion a year ago.
The recent quarter took into account a $1.6 billion reduction reflecting economic and market conditions on the estimated value of MetLife's U.S. annuities business.
Low interest rates have hurt insurance companies. They often make it difficult for insurers to pay consumers the higher rates guaranteed in contracts such as annuities, which the companies sold in rosier economic times.
MetLife said the third-quarter loss also factored in $467 million in net losses on derivatives, financial instruments used to hedge against risks such as swings in interest rates and foreign currencies.
Excluding one-time items, MetLife had operating income of $1.4 billion, or $1.32 per share. Analysts expected $1.27 a share, according to FactSet.
Premiums declined about 3 percent to $9.1 billion. Total operating revenue was flat at $16.6 billion.
Net investment income of $5 billion was up 2 percent from the third quarter of 2011.
Shares of New York-based MetLife rose 27 cents to close at $35.49.