MONTREAL — National Bank reported first-quarter net income of $552 million, up $2 million from the same period a year earlier.The Montreal-based lender’s earnings amounted to diluted earnings per share of $1.50 for the three-month period ended Jan. 31, up from $1.46 a year ago.That’s lower than the $1.54 in diluted earnings per share expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters Eikon.The bank says its results this quarter were driven by growth in most of its businesses, tempered by a slowdown in its financial markets segment in the wake of the market volatility late last year.National Bank’s saw a year-over-year uptick in profit from Canadian retail banking, wealth management, and its U.S. specialty finance and international operations, but earnings from its financial markets division dropped 17 per cent from one year ago.Chief executive Louis Vachon says the bank delivered a “good performance despite challenging markets.”“We continue to benefit from the diversification of our business, a strong Quebec economy and our prudent approach to risk. Credit quality remains excellent, and the Bank posted solid capital ratios,” Vachon said in a statement.

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