Insurance Buys for the Safety-conscious

Article Excerpt

Insurance has a stable image, but it has always been highly competitive and volatile. That’s why we’ve said for some time that insurers are riskier than they look. For safety-conscious investors, right now we recommend just three Canadian insurance companies as buys: Manulife Financial, Great-West Lifeco and Sun Life Financial. MANULIFE FINANCIAL $39.51 (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 $399 billion. In the three months ended September 30, 2007, Manulife’s earnings rose 9.9%, to $1.1 billion or $0.70 a share, from $967 million or $0.62 a share a year earlier. Revenue rose 11.3%, to $9.4 billion from $8.4 billion. Manulife has raised its dividend 9.1%, to $0.24 from $0.22. The shares now yield 2.2%. Manulife’s operations are diversified among life and health insurance, segregated mutual funds, and reinsurance. Its geographic diversification in the…

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