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Manulife Rises on Fed Outlook, Interest Rates

Manulife Financial Corp., Canada’s largest insurer, rose the most in about five months after yields on 30-year bonds climbed and U.S. Federal Reserve policy makers raised its outlook.

Manulife jumped 6.7 percent to C$13.50 at 4 p.m. in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It was the biggest one-day gain for the Toronto-based company since Oct. 27.

The owner of Boston-based John Hancock Financial has been more sensitive to interest-rate declines than some of its domestic competitors, reporting two straight quarterly net losses. Falling rates reduce investment income while increasing costs from obligations to clients who bought guaranteed investment products.

“As long-term rates back up and as equity markets move up tied to a better economic outlook, life insurers will release a whole batch of reserves into their income,” said Peter Routledge, an analyst at National Bank Financial in Toronto. He rates Manulife shares ‘sector perform’

The Federal Reserve raised its assessment of the economy yesterday as the labor market gathers strength. Yields on 30-year bonds climbed as much as 11 basis points to 3.38 percent, the most in more than four months.

Other Canadian insurers also rose. Sun Life Financial Inc. climbed 4.5 percent, Great-West Lifeco Inc. advanced 2.5 percent and Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. jumped 11 percent.

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