Big profits by Canadian banks despite meltdown

February 27th, 2009 - 11:32 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Feb 27 (IANS) Despite the global meltdown, three top Canadian banks posted huge profits Thursday, pushing the markets up for the second consecutive day.
Though reporting a 15 percent fall in its quarterly profits, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), which is the country’s top bank, baffled market analysts by turning in a profit of $1.05 billion.

“These results reflect the strength of our Canadian businesses and demonstrate the value of our diversified business model. We earned over $1 billion this quarter for our shareholders, notwithstanding market impacts,” said RBC president and CEO Gordon M. Nixon.

“Our solid financial profile should provide additional confidence in the strength and stability of our organisation, and supports the continued growth of our businesses. In today’s uncertain environment, we have the resources, expertise and discipline to help our clients create a path forward,” he said.

The RBC shares rose $1.91 to $31.90 on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on the positive news from Bay Street - Toronto’s financial hub.

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), which is the fifth largest Canadian bank, also reported a quarterly profit of $147 million, sending it shares up $2.63 to $45.91 on the TSX.

This was big news from a bank which had suffered a loss of $1.46 billion for the 2007-2008 financial year.

“While conditions across the worldwide financial services industry remain challenging, we are managing through this global environment by maintaining an emphasis on capital and overall balance sheet strength and continuing to position our core businesses for consistent and sustainable performance,” said CIBC president and CEO Gerald T. McCaughey.

Despite plunging more than 70 percent, the quarterly profits at National Bank of Canada also stood at $69 million, the bank reported earlier Thursday. The news pushed its shares up $3.34 to $37.69 on the TSX.

The positive news from the nation’s top banks helped the Toronto Stock Market maintain its bullish streak for the second day.

The TSX composite index gained 254.52 points to close at 8,186.82.

After suffering massive losses last week and this Monday, the index has regained 539 points this week.

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