The Motley Fool

Bank of Montreal: Should You Own This Dividend Stock Today?

Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO)(NYSE:BMO) is approaching an all-time high.

Let’s see if the stock deserves to be in your portfolio right now.

Earnings

Bank of Montreal generated solid fiscal Q3 2016 results.

Adjusted net income hit $1.295 billion, which was a 4% increase compared with the same period last year. Earnings per share came in at $1.94 per share–also 4% higher than Q3 2015.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2016, year-over-year adjusted net income and earnings per share were up 6%. That’s pretty good in a challenging economic environment, and investors should see decent numbers when the fiscal Q4 results come out next month.

Diversified revenue stream

The success can be attributed to Bank of Montreal’s balanced exposure to different segments of the industry.

Bank of Montreal relies on its Canadian personal and commercial banking operations for the largest part (42%) of its earnings. This division squeaked out a 1% gain in Q3 net income.

The personal banking side delivered year-over-year loan growth of 4% and deposit growth of 9%. Commercial banking saw a 10% rise in loans and a 5% increase in deposits.

The U.S. operations stole the show in the third quarter, generating a 24% increase in adjusted net income. Bank of Montreal has more than 500 branches located in the United States and continues to make strategic acquisitions to bolster the size of the American operations.

The company purchased GE Capital’s transport finance business last year, and that group, along with strong organic commercial loan growth, contributed to the big jump in U.S. earnings.

Wealth management generated slightly lower net income on weaker results in the traditional wealth and insurance groups. Capital markets net income rose 18% in the quarter compared with last year.

These two segments tend to be more volatile than the personal and commercial banking operations, and a weak quarter in one is often offset by a strong performance in the the other.

Risks

Canadian bank investors are concerned about a potential housing bubble, and the situation is going to get more attention as interest rates rise.

Bank of Montreal finished Q3 2016 with $101 billion in Canadian residential mortgages on its books. Insured loans represent 57% of the portfolio and the loan-to-value ratio on the remainder is 56%. This means house prices would have to tumble significantly before Bank of Montreal takes a material hit.

Dividend

Bank of Montreal has paid a dividend every year since 1829, so investors should feel confident the company will continue to provide a steady income stream.

The current payout offers a yield of 4%.

Should you buy?

Bank of Montreal’s U.S. exposure provides a nice hedge against weakness in the Canadian economy, and its mortgage portfolio should be able to ride out a downturn in the housing market.

If you want a quality buy-and-hold dividend stock that still offers an attractive yield, Bank of Montreal deserves to be on your radar.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Andrew Walker has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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