CANADA STOCKS-TSX jumps on bank earnings, U.S., China data

Thu Mar 1, 2012 12:07pm EST
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* TSX up 67.72 pts, or 0.5 pct, at 12,711.73

* Bank earnings, miners boost index

* China, U.S. data help metals, oil

* ECB loans offset euro zone recession fears

By Jon Cook

TORONTO, March 1 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was higher on Thursday midday, encouraged by earnings from Canada's top two banks and upbeat economic data from China and the United States.

Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank pushed the index's financial sector up 1.4 percent after the banking heavyweights' earnings topped estimates and both raised their dividends. Shares of RBC, the country's largest bank, shot up 3 percent to C$57.37, and No. 2 bank TD was up 1.9 percent at C$82.34.

The dividend increase was the big draw for investors, said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.   Continued...