Scotiabank posts higher profit, hikes dividend

Tue Mar 6, 2012 6:30pm EST
 
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia's (BNS.TO: Quote) first-quarter earnings rose due to higher profits from its international banking and wealth management operations, allowing the bank to unexpectedly raise its quarterly dividend by 6 percent.

The results, the fifth from a Canadian bank this quarter, met analysts' expectations, although they paled somewhat next to forecast-topping earnings from domestic rivals that have reported so far this quarter.

Scotiabank shares ended the session down 1.4 percent at C$52.94 on a day when most financial issues on the Toronto Stock Exchange lost ground.

Net income at Canada's third-largest bank was C$1.44 billion ($1.44 billion), or C$1.20 a share, up from C$1.25 billion, or C$1.08 a share, a year ago.

Stripping out a C$94 million gain from a real estate sale, core profit was C$1.15 a share on an accrual accounting basis, which was even with consensus estimates.

Barclays Capital analyst John Aiken said in a note the result benefited from stronger than expected trading revenue and lower loan-loss provisions, but that was offset by "weaker than anticipated fee-based revenues and a slightly elevated effective tax rate."

INTERNATIONAL BANKING

Profit from its international banking, which includes operations in dozens of countries in Latin America and Asia, rose 8.9 percent to C$391 million, helped by higher assets and deposits.   Continued...