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Q1 Manulife profit up 45% on interest rates, Asian insurance

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Manulife Financial Corp, Canada's largest life insurer, reported a 45 per cent gain in first-quarter profit after benefiting from interest-rate movements and record insurance sales in Asia.

[TORONTO] Manulife Financial Corp, Canada's largest life insurer, reported a 45 per cent gain in first-quarter profit after benefiting from interest-rate movements and record insurance sales in Asia.

Net income in the first quarter was US$812 million, up from US$563 million in the year-ago period, the Toronto-based company said in a statement Thursday. Profit excluding some items was 44 cents a share, above the 43-cent averageof 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Market-related gains "more than offset depressed oil and gas prices in the quarter," Chief Executive Officer Donald Guloien said in the statement. The company recorded a US$369 million markets gain, including the impact of interest rates.

The company's stock rose 0.4 percent to US$14.07 at market close in Toronto Wednesday. The shares are down 13 per cent this year.

BLOOMBERG