TSX breaks higher, led by financials and energy

Tue Dec 1, 2015 4:53pm EST
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By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rallied on Tuesday to its highest closing level in nearly four weeks, led by financials following stronger-than-expected earnings for two of the country's main banks, while resource stocks also gained.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) rose 1.4 percent to C$78.22 after reporting higher quarterly profit and upping its dividend.

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) also reported higher quarterly profit, but weakness in its capital markets business and an increase in bad energy loans kept optimism in check, with the stock dipping 0.1 percent to C$60.83.

Bank earnings are still moving in the right direction, according to Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier, adding that "loan losses still seem to be manageable."

The overall financials group, which accounts for more than one-third of the index's weight, climbed 1 percent.

Energy stocks climbed 1.3 percent, with Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) up 2.4 percent to C$37.79.

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd COS.TO rose 4.3 percent to C$8.93 following news late on Monday that shareholders will have an extra month to consider Suncor's hostile takeover bid, while the company set a 2016 capital expenditure budget 35 percent lower its projection for this year.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 166.23 points, or 1.23 percent, to 13,636.06, with seven of the index's 10 main groups in positive territory.   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mark Blinch