(Bloomberg) -- National Bank of Canada closed at a record high after it reported earnings that wowed analysts, widening its lead over the country’s other large lenders in shareholders returns. 

National Bank rose 2.3% in Toronto as it posted better profitability in all of its major business lines, save for a 1% drop in wealth management. The Montreal-based lender earned C$2.59 per share on an adjusted basis, which topped the average forecast by 24 Canadian cents. 

Bank of Nova Scotia analyst Meny Grauman called the numbers “best in class so far” of the four major Canadian banks that have disclosed results for the fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 31. 

“After a decline in profitability of some of its segments last quarter, National came roaring back with rebounds and strong earnings across its operating lines,” Jefferies analyst John Aiken said in a note.  

BMO Capital Markets analyst Sohrab Movahedi said it was an “across-the-board beat,” driven by personal and commercial banking, where earnings rose to C$339 million ($250 million), up 4% from a year earlier. 

Shares of National Bank have gained 5% this year, the best result among the country’s six largest lenders. It’s the best-performing major Canadian bank for shareholders over the past decade, by far. 

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

National Bank of Canada’s outperformance in the Financial Markets segment, led by trading across products, helped in 1Q, yet it might be difficult to consistently repeat these results. Higher 1Q net interest income, led by a 7-bp sequential increase in margin, and a 0.6% operating leverage that illustrates contained costs, show the bank’s ability to operating in more challenging economic conditions.

— Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Paul Gulberg and Ethan Kaye

(Updates with closing share price, Bloomberg Intelligence comment)

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