UPDATE 1-Sun Life Financial profit falls 25 pct on markets

Wed May 8, 2013 6:02pm EDT
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* Profit slides due to markets

* Result tops estimates

* Expects U.S. annuity deal to close by end Q2

By Cameron French

TORONTO, May 8 (Reuters) - Sun Life Financial said on Wednesday its first-quarter profit fell by 25 percent, but topped estimates, as Canada's No. 3 insurer was hurt by less favorable financial markets than in the year-before period.

The Toronto-based company earned C$513 million ($511.54 million), or 85 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31. That compared with a year-ago profit of C$686 million, or C$1.15 per share.

Analysts had expected a profit of 66 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson I/B/E/S.

Equity and bond market movements added C$46 million to profit during the quarter, compared to C$348 million in the year-before quarter, the company said.

Sun Life has spent the last year working to reduce its market exposure and announced in December it was selling its U.S. annuity business - which carries sizable market exposures - for $1.35 billion. That sale is expected to close before the end of the second quarter.   Continued...