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MetLife says it expects lower net income in 2013

NEW YORK (AP) -- Insurer MetLife Inc. on Thursday said it expects its income to shrink in 2013, saying low interest rates will hurt its business.

MetLife estimated net income of $5.15 to $5.25 per share in 2012, including $1.12 to $1.22 per share in the fourth quarter. In 2013 the company thinks it will earn between $4.95 and $5.35 per share.

Analysts forecast $5.25 per share for MetLife in 2012 and $1.23 per share in the fourth quarter. In 2013 they expect $5.51 per share on average, according to FactSet.

"While our operating earnings per share are expected to be lower in 2013 than in 2012, they are broadly consistent with what we predicted a year ago for an extended low interest rate environment," said Chairman and CEO Steven Kandarian.

On Wednesday the Federal Reserve said it plans to keep U.S. interest rates ultra-low even after unemployment falls close to a normal level. The Fed believes that could take three more years.

Shares of MetLife rose 24 cents to $33.85 in morning trading.