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MANULIFE FINANCIAL $39.22 – Toronto symbol MFC

MANULIFE FINANCIAL $39.22 (Toronto symbol MFC; SI Rating: Above-average) sells life and other forms of insurance, as well as mutual funds and investment management services. It operates in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Manulife has assets under administration of $414 billion, up 11.4% from $371.5 billion at the end of 2005.

In the three months ended December 31, 2006. Manulife’s earnings rose 14%, to $1.1 billion or $0.70 a share, from $908 million or $0.56 a share a year earlier. Revenue rose 9.5%, to $9.2 billion from $8.4 billion. The shares yield 1.8%.

Manulife’s operations are well diversified among life and health insurance, segregated mutual funds, and reinsurance. Its geographic diversification in the U.S. and Asia, including China, offers growth prospects.

Manulife Financial is still a safety-conscious buy.

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