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Manulife lifts quarterly earnings helped by strong sales in Asia

TORONTO, May 3 (Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp, Canada's biggest life insurer, on Wednesday reported a rise in first quarter earnings, marginally beating market forecasts with help from strong sales in Asia.

The company said core earnings, excluding one-off items and market movements, rose 22 percent to C$1.1 billion ($801 million), or 53 Canadian cents a share. Analysts on average had expected core earnings of 52 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data. ($1 = 1.3729 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by David Gregorio)