Manulife, Sun Life shares hit multi-year highs on results

Thu Nov 7, 2013 2:04pm EST
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* Manulife at 3-1/2 year high, Sun Life at 4-year peak

* Core profits at both insurers top estimates

* Both show strong growth in wealth management

* Market conditions favorable (Adds comments from analyst and Manulife CFO, details)

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Shares of Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial, two of Canada's largest life insurers, jumped to multi-year highs on Thursday after the companies posted better-than-expected results on the back of stronger mutual fund sales and favorable market conditions.

Manulife stock jumped 3 percent and touched a 3-1/2 year high after the insurer reported a third-quarter core profit of 36 Canadian cents a share, which topped analysts' estimates by a penny a share.

"I thought it was a pretty good quarter... Sales trends, I thought, were pretty good across the board," said Tom Lewandowski, an analyst at Edward Jones.

Sun Life shares were up 2.4 percent and trading at a four-year high after the company reported late on Wednesday a profit from core continuing operations 69 Canadian cents a share, ahead of analysts' estimates of 64 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.   Continued...