Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bank of Montreal -- Just What Is The Plan?

Bank of Montreal (BMO) announced results for Q4 and satisfied investors that the ship is safe. They did not increase the dividend. Many feel that regulator in the back room did not want to see increased dividends. But with the stock trading near its 52 week high and the current dividend ratio is over 5%, why would you raise the dividend. Some purists say yields over 5% are a danger signal. So they keep the powder dry.

BMO has purchased Diners Club from Citigroup (C) but refuses to disclose purchase price. Both parties say it’s not material but just want you to know that they did the deal. Diners Club seems to be the Brand that does not want to go and Citi finally threw it overboard. I cannot remember the last time I saw someone use a Diners Club Card.

What is significant in the earnings release is the lack of comment on future direction. There is much commentary about the economy but nothing about how they intend to exploit opportunity. But when they state that the Fed reserve will probably start raising rates in Sep of 2010 it would seem that they have a re-active approach and see business as one large bond trading model.