UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks push higher as banks rally

Tue Apr 1, 2008 4:36pm EDT
 
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(Updates official closing numbers, adds details)

TORONTO, April 1 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index drove higher on Tuesday as banking issues were buoyed by more positive sentiment over stability in financial markets.

The banking sector took its cue from news south of the border, where Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEH.N said it had raised $4 billion in capital to strengthen its balance sheet.

The news gave investors hope that financial institutions, which have taken the brunt of the fallout from the credit crisis, were on the road to recovery.

On Bay Street, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO was up C$2.80, or 4.2 percent, at C$68.90 and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO added C$1.98, or 3.2 percent, to C$64.50. The sector as a whole rose 2.5 percent.

Financials even took heart from a hefty $19 billion writedown by UBS UBSN.VX amid optimism that banks were starting to come clean.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 90.59 points, or 0.68 percent, at 13,440.72 with seven of its 10 main groups in positive territory.

Gains in shares of Rogers Communications RCIb.TO also gave the benchmark a lift after a list of qualified bidders for an upcoming wireless spectrum auction showed no U.S. carriers so far. Rogers was up C$2.91, or 7.9 percent, to C$39.83, while Telus Corp T.TO gained C$1.85, or 4.1 percent, to C$46.55. The telecoms group moved up 3.6 percent.

The resource-laden materials sector led the downside, falling 1.9 percent as it was stung by a selloff in gold and other commodities. The gold producers subindex shed 3.8 percent, with Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO down C$3.61, or 5.2 percent, at C$66.01, and Barrick Gold ABX.TO sliding C$2.18, or 4.9 percent, to C$42.70.

($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson)