RPT-BAY STREET-Soft market outlook casts shadow over insurers

Mon Nov 5, 2012 7:14am EST
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* Results seen stronger than a year ago

* Stock markets rose during quarter, bond spreads narrowed

* Insurer stocks are stronger, but investors wary

* Debt crises in Europe and U.S. could hit markets

* Canadian insurers still rise and fall on markets

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Even if Canadian life insurers live up to expectations by posting strong third-quarter results this week, investors ought to think twice before piling into their shares given the uncertain outlook for financial markets.

With debt crises in Europe and the United States pressuring stocks and threatening another severe market downturn, analysts say one or more of the insurers could cut profit targets when they start reporting results on Wednesday.   Continued...