The Globe and Mail reports in its Thursday edition that Bank of Montreal's second-quarter profit surged higher amid rising optimism about an economic recovery, but demand from clients for new loans has been slower to rebound as the pandemic drags on. The Globe's James Bradshaw writes that abnormally low provisions for loan losses and bustling activity in capital markets helped push BMO's adjusted profit to $2.1-billion, up 193 per cent year-over-year, excluding writedowns and costs from the recent sale of two businesses abroad. BMO is the first major bank to report financial results for the fiscal second quarter that ended April 30. Across the banking sector, earnings will compare favourably with the same quarter last year, when profits reached a nadir in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, as lenders stockpiled billions of dollars in financial reserves to cover a potential wave of loan losses that has largely not materialized since then. BMO set a high standard, beating analysts' expectations by a wide margin, and executives are optimistic about the bank's near-term prospects. For Q2, BMO earned $1.3-billion, or $1.91 a share, compared with $689-million, or $1 a share, in the same quarter last year.
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