(By Balaseshan) CIBC World Markets Inc. analyst Robert Sedran increased his price target on shares of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF) (TSE:SLF) to $25 from $24, while maintaining his "Sector Performer" rating.
After the company's first quarter results, the brokerage raised its 2012 EPS estimate to $3.15 from $2.74 and its 2013 estimate to $2.74 from $2.72.
SLF reported a Q1 EPS of $1.22, way above Sedran's estimate of $0.84 and consensus of $0.78. Excluding market related gains, earnings were $0.61, roughly in line with his forecast.
Besides experience gains, this quarter came in very close to expectations on an SOE basis. Assumption changes were modestly stronger than expected as a result of gains from reduced policy administration costs in the U.K. and a benefit from increased rate hedging on segregated fund liabilities.
While the sales picture in both Canada and the U.S. continues to be mixed as the firm repositions its product offering, performance in Asia was healthy, especially in insurance where sales were up 24% year-over-year. MFS was also a very strong producer as net sales jumped to $5.9 billion from $1.8 billion in Q1-2011.
With few changes to estimates, Sedran has made only minor changes to his outlook. His price target moves to $25 from $24 to reflect the higher book value reported this quarter. His rating remains "Sector Performer", though he retains a positive bias on this name.
SLF is trading up 3.01% at $23.24 on Friday.