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Pedestrians walk past the head office of the National Bank Financial Group in Montreal on March 30, 2011.

Christinne Muschi/Reuters

National Bank of Canada increased its fiscal fourth-quarter profit by 7 per cent and raised its quarterly dividend.

The Montreal-based bank reported higher profits from each of its four divisions, as it continues to benefit from a buoyant economy in Quebec, where its business is heavily concentrated.

For the three months that ended Oct. 31, National Bank earned $604-million, or $1.67 per share, compared with $566-million, or $1.52 a share a year earlier.

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Adjusted to exclude certain items, National Bank said it earned $1.69 per share, well ahead of the consensus estimate among analysts of $1.62, according to Refinitiv.

National Bank increased its quarterly dividend by 3 cents to 71 cents per share.

For the full fiscal year, National Bank reported profit of $2.32-billion, a 4-per-cent increase from 2018, while earnings per share improved 7 per cent to $6.34.

"The outlook in Quebec remains favourable and we continue to take advantage of Canada's broader economic soundness," said chief executive officer Louis Vachon, in a statement.

Provisions for credit losses, or the money banks set aside to cover bad loans, were $89-million, up from $73-million a year earlier and consistent with analysts' expectations.

Profit from personal and commercial banking rose 5 per cent to $270-million, driven by higher loan and deposit volumes even though the margin on loans narrowed slightly.

The financial markets arm delivered profit of $205-million, up 7 per cent from a year earlier, due to strong growth in revenue from global markets, which offset a decline in corporate and investment banking revenue. Wealth management profit increased 10 per cent to $130-million thanks to higher revenues from fees.

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And a large increase in revenue from the bank’s Cambodian subsidiary, ABA Bank, helped push profit from the U.S. specialty finance and international division 42 per cent higher, to $78-million.

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