TSX rises on oil and banks, but Agrium dives

Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:45pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - The main Canadian stock index rose on Friday as heavyweight energy shares climbed with oil prices and financial stocks were up ahead of their earnings season, and the index ended the week with a slight gain despite sharp mid-week falls.

Canadian banks rode higher on broadly positive sentiment for equities. Their quarterly earnings season starts next week, and some investors expect dividend increases.

"Banking stocks, for the most part, are on the positive side," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod. "There has been some speculation that a couple of the banks will be increasing their dividend."

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) gained 0.7 percent to C$60.34, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) added 0.4 percent to C$64.22, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) was up 0.6 percent at C$63.09.

The energy sector gained as the price of crude oil rebounded after two days of heavy losses. <O/R>

Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) had the single biggest positive effect on the index, moving 1.4 percent higher to C$31.95.

"We may be reinitiating the uptrend," said Douglas Davis, chief executive at Davis-Rea. "Possibly it's just a bounceback after two bad days, but it doesn't look like that."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE bounced off a five-week low hit on Thursday, and ended up 61.66 points, or 0.49 percent, at 12,701.63. It notched a gain of 0.12 percent for the week.   Continued...

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