TD Bank Raises Dividend 9% on Strong Results

A wise investor once told me to never bet against Canada’s banks. He was certainly onto something.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD)(NYSE:TD) released its first quarter earnings on Thursday, delivering excellent results. Canada’s second-largest bank reported adjusted diluted earnings of $1.33 per share, versus analyst estimates of $1.27 per share. Net income was $2.558 billion versus analyst expectations of $2.377 billion.

Net income was up 14% versus the same quarter last year.

Strength came from both the Canadian and U.S. retail operations. Earnings in the United States were up 6%, versus an increase of 4% in Canada. It also had strong results from its wholesale business.

Surprisingly, despite the strong numbers, TD shares were down a bit in mid-afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, falling $0.47 each or 0.68%. The decline was likely because investors had already seen better results from some of TD’s competitors, and expected TD’s earnings beat to be bigger than it was.

TD’s management rewarded shareholders with a $0.05 per share quarterly dividend increase, a 9% increase. TD’s shares will now pay a quarterly dividend of $0.60, good enough for a yield of 3.5%. The company also announced it would repurchase up to 15 million common shares.

This marks the seventh consecutive year TD has raised its quarterly payout. In 2010 the bank paid $0.30 per share each quarter. The payout has doubled in seven years, growing at approximately 10% a year. TD – like the rest of Canada’s banks – is one of the country’s best dividend growth stocks.