CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on financials, energy shares
* TSX up 28.17 pts, or 0.2 pct, at 11,599.36 * Energy shares rise on higher U.S. oil * Financials gain on solid BofA earnings * Dampened Fed stimulus hopes limit gains By Jon Cook TORONTO, July 18 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks rose early on Wednesday, led by energy and financial shares, boosted by higher oil prices and strong second-quarter earnings from Bank of America Corp, but worries about the U.S. and euro zone economies limited gains. Canadian financials led the broader index higher, rising 0.3 percent. The influential sector continued to garner support from better-than-expected earnings from U.S. banks. On Wednesday, Bank of America Corp, the second-largest U.S. bank, posted second-quarter earnings of $2.5 billion, reversing a year-earlier loss. "At the end of the day the numbers have been better than expectations and that has improved the sentiment toward the financials," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Wells Fargo & Co, Citigroup Inc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc in recent days all beat analysts' earnings estimates. In Canada, gains were led by Toronto-Dominion Bank, up 0.5 percent to C$80.30, Bank of Nova Scotia, which edged up 0.5 percent to C$52.30, and Royal Bank of Canada , up 0.3 percent to C$52.49. The oil and gas patch also climbed 0.2 percent as oil prices climbed for the sixth straight session. U.S. crude was heading for its highest close since May 29, after bloodshed in Syria highlighting worries about supply from the Middle East. The most influential gainers included: Canadian Natural Resources, up 3 percent at C$28.13, Suncor Energy , which rose 0.9 percent to C$30.27, and TransCanada Corp , up 0.9 percent at C$44.16. At 10:48 a.m. (1448 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 28.17 points, or 0.2 percent, at 11,599.36. Gains were limited by losses from the heavily-weighted materials sector, which sank 0.2 percent as gold fell on dampened speculation that the cooling U.S. economy would imminently require more stimulus. Declines were led by top gold miners Goldcorp Inc, which fell 3.1 percent to C$33.04, Barrick Gold, off 1 percent at C$34.74, and Yamana Gold, down 2 percent to C$14.67. Global growth fears increased following comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German leader was quoted in a media report as saying, "We have not yet shaped the European project so that we can be sure that everything will turn out well, we still have work to do." Markets were already in a nervous mood after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday that the U.S. economic recovery was being held back by anxiety over Europe's debt crisis and the path of U.S. fiscal policy, and his unease over the stagnant jobs market. However strong U.S. housing data on Wednesday restored some confidence in the American recovery. The Commerce Department said housing starts rose 6.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units, the highest rate since October 2008. "You're not seeing further deterioration," said Gorman. "The worst fears are not being realized."
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