WRAPUP 2-Scotiabank, BMO domestic strength offsets international weakness

Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:32pm EDT
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* Domestic loan growth helps BMO, Scotiabank top estimates

* Scotiabank hikes dividend

* BMO holds dividend steady, some had expected increase

* BMO shares rise 0.4 pct, Scotiabank drops 1.7 pct

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal kicked off the reporting season for Canadian banks on Tuesday with slightly stronger-than-expected results that highlighted the resilience of their domestic franchises but weakness in international operations.

Despite concerns that a cooling housing market in Canada would dry up growth in loan profits, domestic lending income was up at both banks, likely helped by home buyers rushing to lock in cheap mortgages before rates move higher.

That compensated for international banking income that fell short of expectations and pressured the shares of Scotiabank, the most internationally focused of the country's banks.

"The story for the quarter so far is strength in Canada and weakness outside Canada," said Peter Routledge, a banking analyst at National Bank Financial.   Continued...