* Q1 adjusted EPS C$1.33 vs forecast C$1.27
* Wholesale banking net income up 66 percent
* Lifts dividend, plans to buy back shares
(Adds comments from Chief Financial Officer, analyst)
TORONTO, March 2 Toronto-Dominion Bank,
Canada's second-biggest lender, on Thursday reported quarterly
earnings ahead of market expectations, helped by a strong
performance in both the United States and Canada.
TD said net income, before one-off items, rose to C$2.6
billion ($1.9 billion), compared with C$2.2 billion a year ago.
Earnings per share, before one-off items, in the first quarter
ended Jan. 31 rose to C$1.33, compared with C$1.18 a year ago.
Analysts had on average forecast earnings of C$1.27 per share
during the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Darko Mihelic said he viewed the
performance as "mildly positive".
"Core EPS was better than our expectations and consensus,
revenue and efficiency were better than expected, although
credit came in worse relative to our expectations," he said.
The bank's Canadian retail business reported net income of
C$1.6 billion, up 4 percent, and its U.S. retail business posted
net income of C$800 million, up 7 percent.
"Our focus on organic growth, combined with favorable market
conditions this quarter, led to strong results in our retail and
wholesale business segments on both sides of the border," Chief
Executive Bharat Masrani said.
TD's investment banking business produced a particularly
strong performance, lifting net income by 66 percent to C$267
million, although that partly reflected a weak quarter last year
due to the low price of oil at that time which had impacted the
bank's clients in the energy sector.
"The Canadian economy overall is on a much better footing
today than it felt like a year ago and, obviously, market
activity has picked up considerably post the U.S. election,"
Chief Financial Officer Riaz Ahmed said in an interview.
"There is momentum right now and companies are taking
advantage, to look at acquisitions and do financing," he added.
Shares in TD, which has a large presence in the United
States, have risen by 15 percent since November on hopes
President Trump's new administration could introduce softer
banking regulations, a lower corporate tax rate, and pro-growth
policies that could lead to higher interest rates.
"In the U.S., in particular, it feels like business
confidence is strong. The factors around interest rates and
expectations around regulations and taxes I think all bode well
for the industry," Ahmed said.
TD lifted its dividend by C$0.05 compared with the previous
quarter to C$0.60 and announced plans to buy back shares.
($1 = 1.3372 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham. Editing by Jane Merriman)