Despite the market-timing troubles at its mutual fund unit, Massachusetts Financial Services, which has settled with the SEC for a total of $410 million, Sun Life Financial announced a 7% profit for the first quarter against last year's numbers.

Sun Life called the improved equity market performance the biggest reason for the uptick. With earnings of $366 million this first quarter compared to $343 million in first quarter 2003, profits rose from 56 cents a share to 61 cents a share, even though revenue dropped slightly from $5.76 billion to $5.54 billion. MFS settled with SEC twice, first for $351 million and a second time for $59 million. The first settlement included the ouster of the company's CEO.

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