UPDATE 2-TD Bank posts firmer profit in line with expectations

Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:24am EST
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(Adds CFO interview, context)

By Jeffrey Hodgson

TORONTO Feb 26 (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank , Canada's second-largest lender, reported a slightly higher profit on Thursday in line with expectations, as gains at its retail division offset weakness in wholesale banking.

TD Bank's net income rose to C$2.06 billion ($1.66 billion), or C$1.09 per share in the first quarter ended Jan. 31, from C$2.04 billion, or C$1.07 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one time items, the company earned C$1.12 per share, in line with the analyst average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The lender also raised its quarterly dividend to 51 Canadian cents per share from 47 Canadian cents.

Investor sentiment had soured on Canadian banks heading into the first-quarter results season on concerns about the impact of a sharp price drop in oil prices and the resulting drag on the Canadian economy.

But the weaker energy prices have so far had a limited impact on TD's loan book and results, said Colleen Johnston, TD Bank's chief financial office.

"We're really not seeing any direct effects to this point, but keeping a very close eye on this because needless to say, low oil prices are a negative for Canada overall," she told Reuters.   Continued...