February 24, 2011 / 1:07 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 2-National Bank of Canada profit rises 45 percent

* Q1 EPS C$1.80 vs EST C$1.64

* Stronger loan growth, weaker trading results

(Adds details)

TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) said on Thursday its first-quarter profit rose 45 percent, topping estimates, as stronger consumer and business loan growth more than offset a decline in trading income.

National, Canada’s No. 6 bank, earned C$312 million ($318 million), or C$1.80 a share, in the fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 31.

That compared with a profit of C$215 million, or C$1.22 a share, in the year-before period, when the profit was hurt by a settlement related to the asset-backed commercial paper industry, which froze up in 2007.

The result topped expectations of a profit of C$1.64 a share, as polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Personal and commercial banking income rose 15 percent to C$157 million as growing loan volumes more than offset narrowing interest margins, while wealth management income jumped 91 percent to C$44 million due to rising assets and markets.

Financial markets income eased 5 percent to C$137 million, due largely to lower trading activity.

The bank’s shares, which are up 4.8 percent so far this year and hit an all-time high last week, closed at C$71.78 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

$1=$0.98 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French, editing by Dave Zimmerman

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