TSX ends higher ahead of Greek vote

Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:13pm EDT
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian stocks rose on Friday, boosted by energy and financial shares, as investor fears of further market turmoil following Sunday's Greek election eased on talk the world's major central banks were poised to step in to reduce any potential fallout.

Officials from the G20 nations, whose leaders are meeting in Mexico next week, said that central banks were ready to take steps to stabilize financial markets - if needed - by providing liquidity and prevent any credit squeeze after Sunday's election.

"Stock markets are higher today because the thought is that the worst-case outcome over the weekend is being taken off the table," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.

"It's a signal that maybe there can be a coordinated effort that can prevent the Greek crisis from spreading around Europe, which is the largest market concern right now."

Nearly all of Canada's 10 main sectors were higher. Gains were led by the heavyweight oil and gas group, which rose 1.8 percent as oil prices rebounded. <O/R>

Leading the way among energy names was Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), which jumped 5.7 percent to C$22.60. Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) climbed 1.7 percent to C$29.01 and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO: Quote) rose 2.4 percent to C$32.29.

Central banks from Tokyo to London prepared for any turmoil following Greece's election, with the European Central Bank hinting at an interest rate cut and Britain set to open its coffers.

That helped Canadian financials, which edged up 0.5 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), the country's largest lender, climbed 0.8 percent to C$51.24 and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) rose 0.9 percent to C$55.22. Top insurer Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO: Quote) gained 1.6 percent to C$10.74.   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch