UPDATE 2-Bank of Montreal posts weaker-than-expected profit, shares drop

Tue Dec 2, 2014 10:09am EST
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(Adds market reaction, analyst comment, further detail)

By Jeffrey Hodgson

TORONTO Dec 2 (Reuters) - Bank of Montreal kicked off the fourth-quarter reporting season for Canadian lenders on Tuesday with a weaker-than-expected profit, hurt by results at its capital markets arm, sending its stock lower in early trade.

Net income at Canada's fourth-largest bank was C$1.07 billion ($941.57 million), or C$1.56 a share, for the fourth quarter ended Oct. 31, compared with C$1.07 billion, or C$1.60 a share, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings were C$1.63 a share, while analysts had expected C$1.68 a share.

"BMO continues to show progress in U.S. retail, an abysmal capital markets quarter, noise in wealth management and flat domestic retail earnings on top of an arguably low quality miss," Barclays Capital analysts John Aiken wrote in a note to clients.

Aiken said the report "could weigh on the sector as a whole, unless better earnings are produced throughout the remainder of the week."

For Canadian banks, the fourth quarter ends on Oct. 31, instead of Dec. 31, as is the case with most other companies in the country.

Canada's top banks are all set to report fourth-quarter results this week, including Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada.   Continued...