UPDATE 1-Canadian Western shares slip despite profit gain

Tue Dec 4, 2012 11:53am EST
 
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* Cash earnings just short of estimates

* Bank hikes dividend 6 pct, as expected

* Shares down 2.1 pct

Dec 4 (Reuters) - Canadian Western Bank's profit rose a slightly smaller-than-expected 20 percent in the fourth quarter, prompting investors to sell the company's shares on Tuesday in spite of an announced dividend hike.

The bank, Canada's seventh-largest by market capitalization, said Tuesday that it earned C$43.0 million ($43.27 million), or 55 Canadian cents a share, in the fiscal fourth quarter ended Oct. 31. That compared with a profit of C$35.9 million, or 47 Canadian cents a share, in the year-before period.

The result, the 98th consecutive quarterly profit for the Edmonton, Alberta-based bank, was driven by a 14 percent rise in loans and an C$8.5 million increase in net gains on securities.

However, adjusted cash earnings of 56 Canadian cents a share fell just short of analysts' expectations of a profit of 58 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Just before midday, the bank's shares were down 2.1 percent at C$28.38 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Canadian Western also said it would raise its quarterly dividend by 1 Canadian cent, or 6 percent, to 17 Canadian cents per share, which analysts had expected.   Continued...