The Globe and Mail reports in its Saturday edition that the banks start releasing first-quarter earnings on Feb. 22, and investors will need a program to keep track of all of the dividend hikes. The Globe's John Heinzl writes that in a note last week, Desjardins Securities analyst Doug Young predicted that the banks' earnings per share will grow by 5 per cent, on average, for the three months ended Jan. 31. The gains will be "driven by NIM [net interest margin] expansion in Canada, and in some cases the U.S., decent loan growth across various businesses, a benign credit environment, good expense control and share buybacks." Of the Big Five banks, Mr. Young expects that four will increase their dividends -- namely TD Bank (up an expected 10 per cent), Royal Bank (4 per cent), Scotiabank (4 per cent) and CIBC (2 per cent). Because Bank of Montreal increased its dividend in the fourth quarter, it is expected to sit out the dividend hike parade this time around. RBC kicks off earnings season Feb. 22, followed by BMO and Scotia on Feb. 26, National Bank and Laurentian Bank on Feb. 27, and CIBC and TD on Feb. 28. Mr. Young also expects a 4-per-cent increase from Canadian Western Bank, which reports on March 7.
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