Canada's Manulife misses first-quarter profit estimates

(Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp reported a quarterly profit on Wednesday that missed analysts' estimates as the Canadian insurer attracted less capital from investors spooked by market volatility amid the recent crisis in the banking sector.

Global markets were whipsawed in March by the biggest crisis to hit the banking sector since 2008, fueling volatility across asset classes and driving investors towards safe-haven assets.

Manulife's global wealth and asset management unit posted net inflows of C$4.4 billion ($3.29 billion) in the first quarter, compared with inflows of C$6.8 billion a year earlier.

Core earnings at the unit fell 16.6% to C$287 million.

Manulife, however, noted positive sales momentum in Asia as the region continues to rebound from the pandemic.

"I am confident that we are well positioned for the future as insurance markets across Asia continue to grow," Chief Financial Officer Phil Witherington said.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 79 Canadian cents per share in the quarter, below estimates of 80 Canadian cents, according to Refinitiv data.

($1 = 1.3372 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru)