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China Life leads top 20 Asia-Pacific insurers in Q4'19 stock returns

China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. was the best-performing stock among the 20 largest Asia-Pacific insurance companies by market capitalization in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a total stock return of 19.2%, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The Chinese life insurer also posted the largest quarter-over-quarter increase in market capitalization in the period, at 27.6%. With a market cap of US$124.97 billion as of Dec. 31, 2019, it ranked third on the list behind Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. and AIA Group Ltd., respectively. The top eight spots on the list in terms of market cap were unchanged from the previous quarter.

Japan's Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc. posted a total stock return of 11.5% in the fourth quarter of 2019 and ranked second on the list ahead of AIA Group, which reported a total stock return of 10.5%. India's SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. followed closely, with a total stock return of 10.2% during the quarter.

Japan's Sompo Holdings Inc. and Insurance Australia Group Ltd., performed the worst among their peers, posting negative total stock returns of 4.8% and 3.0%, respectively.

Meanwhile, People's Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd., India's HDFC Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and Sompo Holdings each fell two notches on the list, to 13, 14 and 17 spots, respectively, during the quarter. On the other hand, seven companies, including New China Life, SBI Life and QBE Insurance Group Ltd., improved their ranking during the period.

Among S&P Global Market Intelligence's regional insurance indexes, the SNL Asia Pacific ex-Japan Insurance Index posted the highest total return of 7.1% for the 2019 fourth quarter, followed by the SNL Asia Pacific Insurance Index's 6.9% and SNL Japan Insurance Index's 5.7%.

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