TEL AVIV, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Bank Leumi, one of Israel’s two largest lenders, reported a smaller than expected rise in quarterly net profit.
Leumi said on Wednesday it earned 742 million shekels ($216 million) in the fourth quarter, up from 688 million a year earlier.
The bank was forecast to earn 844 million shekels, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
Leumi declared a quarterly dividend of 297 million shekels, representing 40% of net income and down from 306 million in the third quarter.
The bank’s board also approved a new share buyback programme of up to 700 million shekels. ($1 = 3.4345 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Ari Rabinovitch)