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New China Life Falls as Profit Misses Estimates: Hong Kong Mover

New China Life Insurance Co., the nation’s third-largest life insurer by premium income last year, fell by the most in more than a month in Hong Kong trading after first-half profit missed analyst estimates.

The stock dropped 3.5 percent, the most since July 12, to HK$20.55 at the close of trading. Net income rose 15 percent to 2.18 billion yuan ($356 million), the company said in an exchange filing yesterday, missing the 2.38 billion yuan mean estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

New China Life’s gross premiums fell 8 percent in the first half after sales of new policies over bank counters tumbled 55 percent as higher-return wealth management products offered by lenders erode the appeal of insurance products.

“Business continued to worsen,” Tong Chengdun, Shenzhen-based analyst at Guosen Securities Co., wrote in a report today, citing declines in both sales through banks and the more profitable new business acquired by individual agents.

The Beijing-based insurer also reported 573 million yuan in unrealized losses from investments, reversing 272 million yuan of gains a year earlier, as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index declined 13 percent in the first half amid an economic slowdown.

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