* Net profit tops estimates, core result misses
* Wealth and insurance sales rise, takes tax, investment gains
TORONTO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp rebounded to a fourth-quarter profit from a year-before loss on the back of tax and investment gains, as well as stronger sales of insurance and wealth products, it said on Thursday.
The company, Canada's largest life insurer, earned C$1.06 billion ($1.06 billion), or 56 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec 31. That compared with a year-before loss of C$69 million, or 5 Canadian cents a share.
The result was padded by C$368 million in investment gains and C$264 million in tax-related gains, the company said.
Excluding those items, core profit was 28 Canadian cents per share.
Analysts had expected a net profit of 31 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and a core profit of 32 Canadian cents a share.
Manulife owns U.S. insurer John Hancock and also operates in 11 Asian countries.