Amid all the numbers a company reports each quarter, one matters most to investors – how much money was made or lost. So when Manulife Financial Corp. introduced a new profit measure called “core earnings” in its most recent third-quarter results, analysts and investors paid close attention.
Manulife was once noted for remarkably stable earnings. Investors could count on steady profits and few surprises from Canada’s largest insurance company. That changed in the financial crisis of 2008, when stock markets and interest plummeted, hurting Manulife’s ability to generate investment returns to pay for promises it made to customers. Manulife began posting wild swings in net income from quarter to quarter – from massive profits to deep losses. Shell-shocked investors started looking elsewhere for safe returns.