BMO's quarterly adjusted profit tops on retail strength

FILE PHOTO: A Bank of Montreal (BMO) sign is seen outside of a branch in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

(Reuters) - Bank of Montreal BMO.TO, Canada's fourth-biggest lender, on Tuesday reported a quarterly adjusted profit that beat analysts' estimates, helped by higher income from its main retail business.

Net income from BMO’s Canadian personal and commercial banking unit rose 6 percent to C$624 million ($493.5 million) in the fourth quarter due to higher balances across most products.

BMO's beat follows that of Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO - Canada's biggest lender - which reported strong growth in its retail banking and wealth management units.

Banks benefited from a robust showing by Canada’s domestic economy, which has grown at the fastest rate of the G7 group of industrialized nations and strong employment.

But they are preparing for the introduction of stricter rules on mortgage lending and new accounting guidelines, which may increase earnings volatility.

BMO’s revenue rose 7.1 percent to C$5.66 billion.

However, net income attributable to shareholders fell 8.7 percent to C$1.23 billion as reinsurance claims rose C$112 million, largely due to the impact of the hurricanes that hit parts of the United States and Puerto Rico.

Excluding items, the company earned C$2.11 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate by 12 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Taenaz Shakir and Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D’Couto