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TORONTO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada's third-biggest lender, reported improved first-quarter earnings that were just ahead of expectations, benefiting from a strong performance in the Pacific Alliance trade bloc.
Scotiabank said net income in the first quarter to Jan.31 was C$2 billion ($1.5 billion) compared with C$1.8 billion the year before. Earnings per share rose to C$1.58 from C$1.44 the year before. Analysts had on average forecast earnings of C$1.57, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data. ($1 = 1.3183 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Keith Weir)