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Canadian life insurer, Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC - Analyst Report) reported first-quarter 2013 net income of approximately $536 million (C$540 million), declining from $1.2 billion (C$1.2 billion) in the last year quarter.

The quarter saw solid core earnings and strong investment gains. However, negative interest rate-related impacts were the partial offset.

Core earnings of Manulife of $614 million (C$619 million) were up 17.7% year over year.

It was primarily led by lower new business strain, lower amortization of deferred acquisition costs and lower expenses. However, unfavorable claims experience was a partial offset.

During the quarter under review, Manulife’s Insurance sales decreased 23% year over year to $614 million (C$619 million). Lower sales in Asia and Canada attributed to the decline.

Wealth sales for the first quarter were $12.3 billion (C$12.4 billion), up 43% year over year. The increase was due to more than 100% improvement in sales of Asia Division, along with 45% improvement in U.S. Division's sales.

For wealth products, premiums and deposits of $16.2 billion (C$16.3 billion) increased 42% year over year.

Insurance premiums and deposits increased 7% year over year to $5.9 billion (C$6 billion), reflecting strong growth in Asia, Canada and the U.S.

Manulife generated new business embedded value of $299 million (C$301 million), in line with the first quarter of 2012.

The company strengthened MLI’s MCCSR to 217%, up 6% over the prior quarter.

Funds under management reached another all-time record of $545 billion (C$555 billion) as of Mar 31, 2013, driven by positive net policyholder flow.

While StanCorp Financial Group Inc. (SFG - Analyst Report) and Reinsurance Group of America Inc. (RGA - Analyst Report) reported operating earnings ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate, Protective Life Corp.’s (PL - Analyst Report) earnings fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate.  

Manulife currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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