Royal Bank of Canada surpassed profit expectations in the fourth quarter amid a surge in earnings from its trading and investment banking operations that helped mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the lender’s other branches.
The bank’s total net income inched up one per cent year-over-year to $3.25 billion in the three months ending Oct. 31. On an adjusted basis, RBC said Wednesday it earned $2.27 per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting $2.04 in profit per share. For the year, RBC’s net income fell 11 per cent to $11.44 billion.
The clear-cut star performer in the quarter was RBC’s capital markets division, where profit soared 44 per cent to $840 million. In a release, RBC attributed the growth to favourable market conditions and an increase in debt and equity offerings that boosted its investment banking team.
Credit quality also improved for RBC in the quarter, as the bank set aside $427 million for loans that could go bad, compared to $675 million in the prior quarter and $499 million in provisions a year earlier.
“While RBC came in ahead of consensus expectations, the amount can be chalked up to lower than expected provisions for credit losses,” wrote Barclays Capital Analyst John Aiken in a report to clients.
“While we do not believe that the beat, driven by provisions, will generate much outperformance, there is very little to complain about in RBC’s earnings and we believe that the fourth-quarter’s results more than justify supporting its valuation,” added Aiken, who has an overweight rating on RBC’s shares, with a $112.00 per-share price target.
RBC’s core personal and commercial (P&C) banking operations saw profit fall seven per cent to $1.5 billion in the quarter. Similar to the banks that reported on Tuesday, RBC noted the impact of lower interest rates as central banks have attempted to cushion the economic blow from the pandemic by easing borrowing costs. Higher technology costs also weighed on RBC’s P&C earnings in the period.
Profit from wealth management was down 25 per cent year-over-year, mostly due to a substantial gain from an asset sale that boosted the division a year earlier.
“Looking ahead, while it is difficult to predict how the coming year will unfold, RBC has the strength, stability and operational resilience to face a range of scenarios, and to continue creating long-term sustainable value,” said RBC CEO Dave McKay in a release.
23 Died After Getting Covid Shot in Norway. Here's the Rest of the Story – TheStreet
After a striking headline circulated over the weekend — that 23 patients in Norway died after getting a Covid-19 shot — TheStreet reached out to the Norwegian Medicines Agency to find out more details of what happened.
Norwegian health officials say they have now revised guidelines on who should get the Covid-19 shots made by Pfizer (PFE) – Get Report and BioNTech (BNTX) – Get Report, after 23 deaths among the frail and elderly were believed to be “associated with” recent Covid-19 vaccinations. More than half of those who died, 13, have been assessed. The agency believes those fatalities might be linked to common adverse reactions from the vaccine, known as BNT162b2.
A Pfizer spokesperson said that the company and its partner, BioNTech, are “aware” of the deaths and are working with the Norwegian agency to collect necessary information. Pfizer’s “immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families,” said Jerica Pitts, Pfizer’s director of global media relations, in an email to TheStreet on Sunday. But Pitts pointed out that the number of incidents is so far not alarming and to be expected, according to Norwegian health officials.
For perspective, 42,003 people have been given the first dose of the vaccine in Norway as of Friday, so the deaths are a tiny fraction of the total vaccinated. Also, Norway, which has a population of slightly more than 5 million, has fewer than 58,600 total known cases of Covid-19 and under 517 deaths attributed to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins data. That ratio alone appears far worse one than that of the vaccinated vs. deaths potentially linked to the vaccine.
Still, the reports of deaths “suggest” that common adverse reactions to the messenger RNA vaccine may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients, says Norwegian health officials.
Following is a lightly edited exchange between TheStreet and the Norwegian Medicines Agency about the deaths, which occurred after the first dose of the vaccine, which began getting distributed in Norway on Dec. 27.
TheStreet: Why did the agency put out this notice?
Norwegian Medicines Agency: The Norwegian Adverse Drug Reaction registry is a national health registry, obliged to report statistics to the public. At the highest political level, the public has been promised full transparency of the reported ADRs of the Covid-19 vaccines. … In Norway, we have a “reporting culture” for vaccine ADRs, where the normal procedure is to report all suspected adverse reactions for new vaccines. Health care professionals in Norway have a low threshold for reporting possible adverse reactions, even when the causal relationships appear very unclear.
TheStreet: It sounds like you believe these deaths were likely linked to common adverse side effects of the shots. Could you expand on that? Is there any side effect that you find most concerning?
Norwegian Medicines Agency: For privacy reasons, we can not provide detailed information about this, but … all reports are about elderly people with serious underlying disorders. Most of them have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea, vomiting, fever and local reactions at the injection site.
All deaths that occur within the first few days of vaccination are carefully assessed. We cannot rule out that adverse reactions to the vaccine occurring within the first days following vaccination may contribute to more serious course and fatal outcome in patients with severe underlying disease.
TheStreet: How old were those who died after getting the shots?
Norwegian Medicines Agency: All deaths fall into the age group of 75 years or older.
TheStreet: Do these deaths make you question how the vaccine is given to that population of the elderly who are sick?
Norwegian Medicines Agency: The Norwegian Medicines Agency approves the vaccine, but the National Institute of Public Health is responsible for the distribution. The Norwegian Medicines Agency and the National Institute of Public Health jointly assess all reports of suspected adverse reactions. As a result, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has updated the Covid-19 vaccination guide with more detailed advice on vaccinating the elderly who are frail.
We are now asking for doctors to continue with the vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it. This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.
Toronto opening mass COVID-19 vaccine clinic as ICUs move patients around province – CBC News: The National
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London health chiefs today pledged to speed up vaccinations by opening up to 25 new centres in the capital this week, including a major site in the shadow of Wembley Stadium. With the number of centres due to hit 170 by the weekend, the capital’s most senior doctor urged people to come forward “without delay” for the jab when called. “We’re adding more and more sites as vaccine supplies become available, and staff and volunteers are going the extra mile to vaccinate to those who need it most,” said Dr Vin Diwakar, Medical Director for the NHS in London.
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