CANADA STOCKS-TSX may open higher after bank earnings top forecasts
Feb 28 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index looked set to open higher on Thursday, helped by stronger-than-forecast results from Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
* Royal Bank of Canada reported a stronger-than-expected 12 percent rise in quarterly profit on the back of stronger loan growth and capital markets income, prompting the bank to raise its dividend by 5 percent.
* Toronto-Dominion Bank reported a 21 percent rise in quarterly profit, driven by loan growth at its Canadian and U.S. retail banks and allowing it to raise its dividend by 5 percent.
* Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce reported a 4 percent drop in quarterly profit due largely to a C$148 million charge for a legal settlement with bankrupt U.S. bank Lehman Brothers.
* Positions hardened on Wednesday between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders over the budget crisis even as they arranged to hold last-ditch talks to prevent harsh automatic spending cuts beginning this week.
* Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, the largest publicly traded drug maker in Canada, reported a fourth-quarter loss, largely due to costs related to its $2.6 billion acquisition of Medicis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
* Bankers in Europe face a cap on bonuses as early as next year, following agreement in Brussels to introduce what would be the world's strictest pay curbs, in a move politicians hope will address public anger at financial-sector greed. Continued...