UPDATE 2-BMO profit rises on wholesale banking, better loans

Tue Dec 4, 2012 11:26am EST
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* Adjusted profit tops estimates

* Markets-related revenue rises, loan-loss provisions fall

* Shares up 0.9 pct

* Company to buy back up to 2.3 pct of shares

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Bank of Montreal's quarterly profit rose 41 percent, topping estimates on the back of a doubling of wholesale banking income and a gain on U.S. loans that had previously been written down.

The company, Canada's fourth-largest bank and also a major presence in the U.S. Midwest, earned C$1.1 billion ($1.11 billion), or C$1.59 a share in the fourth quarter ended Oct 31. That compared with a year-before profit of C$768 million, or C$1.11 a share.

On an adjusted basis, the bank earned C$1.65 a share, well ahead of analysts' expectations of a profit of C$1.43 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Canada's banks have been named the world's soundest for five years running by the World Economic Forum, due in part to their cautious business approach, and caution benefited BMO's bottom line during the quarter.   Continued...