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Manulife says cost containment to be key driver of targeted 10%-12% core earnings growth

TORONTO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp’s focus on containing costs will be a key driver of its target of 10% to 12% growth in core earnings per share next year and beyond, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Canada’s biggest life insurer comfortably beat analyst estimates for second-quarter core profit after markets closed on Wednesday.

Costs will be a “critical driver that gives us confidence in achieving that 10% to 12% core earnings growth,” CEO Roy Gori said on an analyst call. Manulife’s core general expenses in the quarter dropped 5% from a year earlier, and it expects C$1 billion ($753.64 million) in expense efficiencies by year-end.

Its shares jumped 4.5% to C$19.70 on Thursday morning in Toronto, putting it on track for its highest close in nearly two months. (Reporting By Nichola Saminather; editing by Jonathan Oatis)