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Manulife sees 14% growth in Q1 core earnings YOY due to higher new biz volumes

ManulifeFinancial Corp. reported first-quarter net income attributed toshareholders of C$1.05 billion, or 51 Canadian cents per common share, up fromC$723 million, or 36 cents per common share, in the year-ago period.

The year-over-year increase in net income attributed toshareholders was primarily due to gains from interest rate movements and highercore earnings, partially offset by lower-than-expected returns on alternativelong-duration assets.

Core earnings, a non-GAAP measure, grew 14% year over yearto C$905 million, or 44 cents per common share, from C$797 million, or 39 centsper common share, in the year-ago quarter. The increase reflected strong growthin new business volumes, particularly in Asia, and C$75 million related tochanges in foreign currency rates, partially offset by higher macro hedgingcosts.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate forthe quarter was 43 cents.

The company's insurance sales increased 14% year over yearto C$954 million. Asia insurance sales increased 36%, Canadian insurance salesdeclined 28% and U.S. insurance sales increased 4% year over year in the firstquarter.

Manulife's total assets under management and administrationwere C$904 billion as of March 31, compared to C$935 billion as of Dec. 31,2015, and C$821 billion as of March 31, 2015.