What Should Investors Do About Bank of Nova Scotia?

Bank stocks are one of those assets that I believe all investors should have some exposure to because they are responsible for so much of the financial growth–directly and indirectly–that we experience. One bank I’m particularly interested in is Bank of Nova Scotia  (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS), otherwise known as Scotiabank.

On May 31st, Bank of Nova Scotia announced its second-quarter earnings, which were better than expected if a restructuring charge was not accounted for. During the second quarter, Bank of Nova Scotia had a restructuring charge of $378 million pre-tax. Part of this is a reduction in payroll, especially as more people move online to do their banking. However, it’s a one-time restructuring charge, so it shouldn’t have long-term implications.

According to the company, it earned $1.46 per diluted share after adjusting for the restructuring charge, which was up from $1.42 one year earlier. Analysts had been expecting a repeat of 2015, so a four cent beat is positive. Revenue was also up $500 million from $6.05 billion to $6.65 billion, which was $21 million higher than what analysts had expected.

Here are some other numbers…

Its total assets increased by 6.9% to $894.96 billion. Its loans increased by 7.1% to $466.85 billion and its deposits increased by 5.9% to $609.31 billion. Across the board, the bank saw growth except for its need to cut payroll, which was a cost that made the quarter appear to be not as profitable as it could have been.

Its Canadian banking operations remain strong with net income of $977 million, an 18% increase year over year. In its press release, the company mentioned the credit card portfolio that it bought from JPMorgan back in October 2015 as having an impact on growth.

The international side continues to grow for the company, which is big news. Unlike the other big Canadian banks, Bank of Nova Scotia has a huge presence in Latin America. According to the company, net income attributed to Latin America was $1.005 billion year-to-date, which is up 16%.

The bank has been investing heavily in Latin America. For example, last year it bought 51% of Cencosud SA, Chile’s largest retail bank. This is important because Chile is the most advanced economy in South America.

In Colombia, Bank of Nova Scotia is the fifth-largest bank. In Mexico, it is the seventh-largest bank. That’s important because there are 48.3 million people in Colombia and 59.79 in Mexico compared to the 35.2 million in Canada. Therefore, being a less-popular bank in a much denser populated country is more important than being a popular bank in a less-dense population.

All of this means that Bank of Nova Scotia is actually in a pretty good place. Since reporting earnings, the stock is up about $1 a share and trades at a P/E of 11.83, which is a little cheaper than the normal 12.4 that it has historically traded at.

However, it’s currently paying a lucrative 4.37% yield and reiterated its $0.72 per quarter dividend with the next payment coming on July 5. Since 2010 the dividend has grown by 6.8% on average per year. Since earnings are expected to grow by anywhere from 5-7%, I believe investors should expect to see a similar dividend increase. Therefore, buying the stock today for its yield is a perfectly appropriate decision.

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Fool contributor Jacob Donnelly has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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