UPDATE 3-BMO raises dividend as profit tops estimates

Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:38pm EST
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* Adjusted profit tops estimates

* Net profit eases due to bad loans at U.S. bank

* Bank increases dividend 2.8 pct

* Consumer lending margins narrow

* Shares rise 1.3 percent

By Cameron French

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Bank of Montreal's core profit topped expectations on the back of higher markets-related revenue and surprisingly steady consumer loan growth, prompting the bank to unexpectedly raise its dividend.

Shares of BMO, Canada's No. 4 lender and the first to release first-quarter results for 2013, jumped 1.3 percent on Tuesday on the result and dividend increase.

Adjusted profit for the quarter came in at C$1.52 a share, ahead of the year-before profit of C$1.42, and beating analysts' expectations of C$1.48 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.   Continued...