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Manulife Financial beats Street with $1-billion profit

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Manulife Financial Corp., Canada’s largest life insurer by market value, posted third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as wealth and insurance product sales increased.

Net income was $1.03 billion, or 54 cents a share, compared with a loss of $227 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier, the Toronto-based firm reported Thursday in a statement. Profit excluding some items was 36 cents a share, compared with the 35-cent average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Insurance sales increased modestly, but most importantly, were accompanied by much higher margins,” Manulife Chief Executive Officer Donald Guloien, 56, said in the statement. “Wealth sales were extremely positive across the board. The overall plan is unfolding extremely well.”

The insurer’s wealth product sales gained 34 percent to $11.3 billion from the same period last year, with the company’s funds under management reaching a record of $575 billion. Insurance sales were up 4 percent.

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