Commodities, profit hopes push TSX to two-week high

Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:36pm EST
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian shares hit their highest point in nearly two weeks in thin trading on Friday, rallying for a sixth straight session on stronger commodity prices and on earnings expectations for financial stocks.

Financial shares also advanced for a sixth day ahead of the quarterly reporting season for Canadian banks.

Bank results will be released over the next two weeks, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) the first to report, on November 29. Analysts expect the country's six big banks to report profit gains in the area of 10 percent year-over-year.

Among the top advancers on Friday, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) rose 0.5 percent to C$81.40, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) gained 0.7 percent to C$58.95. Royal Bank edged up 0.2 percent to C$57.95.

The Canadian banks have mostly outperformed the broader market over the past month, helped by optimism that their consumer lending and trading businesses will churn out strong profits despite concerns about a housing slowdown and turmoil on international markets.

"Part of that is going to be fundamentals-based but it's partly going to be also based on the sentiment of risk-on/risk-off," said Bill Horton, chief investment officer at MD Physician Services.

Resource companies were also broadly stronger as commodity prices rose .TRJCRB.

Talisman Energy TLM.TO climbed 3.8 percent to C$11.68, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) gained 1.3 percent to C$35.19, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) advanced 1.1 percent to C$27.94.   Continued...

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