The Successful Investor Hotline – Friday, March 6, 2009

Article Excerpt

BANK OF MONTREAL, $27.48, Toronto symbol BMO, earned $225 million in its first fiscal quarter, which ended January 31, 2009, down 11.8% from $255 million a year earlier. During the quarter, the bank issued about $1 billion of new common shares. Consequently, earnings per share fell 17%, to $0.39 from $0.47, on more shares outstanding. However, the latest quarterly earnings included a $359-million (or $0.69 a share) writedown of illiquid securities, including asset-backed commercial paper, held by the bank’s trading division. If you exclude all unusual charges, Bank of Montreal would have earned $1.09 a share. The slowing economy continues to weigh on the bank’s earnings. Loan-loss provisions rose 86.1% in the latest quarter. Most of this increase came from Bank of Montreal’s U.S. operations, particularly loans related to the commercial real estate and manufacturing industries. The U.S. accounts for about 10% of the bank’s revenue. Overall revenue in the quarter rose by 20.5%, to $2.4 billion from $2 billion. Strong…

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