Intact Financial shares slide as results miss estimates
* Profit misses estimates, shares down 2 pct
* Higher claims offsets premium growth
* Insurer to buy back up to 5 pct of shares
* Sees no material margin impact from Ontario rate plan
By Cameron French
TORONTO, May 8 (Reuters) - Intact Financial Corp said on Wednesday its first-quarter profit was essentially unchanged from the year-before period, missing expectations, as a rise in winter-related insurance claims offset stronger premiums.
Shares of Canada's largest property and casualty insurer hit a 14-month low following the release of its results. By mid-morning the stock was down 2 percent at C$58.99, the weakest performance among Toronto-listed financial companies.
Net profit for the quarter ended March 31 was C$174 million ($173.15 million), or C$1.27 a share. That compared with a profit of C$173 million, or C$1.30 a share, in the year-before period.
On an operating basis, the Toronto-based company earned C$1.27 a share, shy of the profit of C$1.32 a share expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Continued...