WRAPUP 1-Canadian banks' shares rise as profits top estimates

Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:19pm EDT
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* Three of Canada's top banks top estimates as domestic lending profit drives beats

* Wholesale banking a weak spot

* TD, RBC boost dividends

* Shares of all three banks rise in early trading

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Three of Canada's biggest banks posted better-than-expected third-quarter results on Thursday, pushing their shares higher as surprisingly strong retail lending and wealth management income offset weakness in investment banking and trading profits.

Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank , the country's top two banks, both announced dividend hikes, while No. 5 lender Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said it would buy back as much as 2 percent of its stock over the next 12 months.

The results close out a Canadian bank earnings period that had Canada's top six banks all exceed estimates on the back of domestic lending profits that churned higher in spite of worries that a cooling housing market would slow growth to a trickle.

"These aren't 'knocking out of the park' numbers, but they are better than my expectations," said Tom Lewandowski, a St. Louis-based analyst for Edward Jones.   Continued...