CANADA STOCKS-Banks, golds lead broad TSX rally

Wed Apr 1, 2009 5:03pm EDT
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* TSX jumps 221 points to 8,941.82

* Banks up 2.7 pct, materials ahead 3.6 pct

* All 10 main sectors end higher (Adds details, comments, official numbers)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, April 1 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose for the second straight session on Wednesday, helped in large part by a bank rally as U.S. data spurred optimism for a boost in financial activity.

Healthier numbers for U.S. factory activity and pending sales of existing homes gave hope to investors that the U.S. recession was easing, and that optimism spilled into Canada. [ID:nN01407201

Shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote), one of the key drivers behind the index's gain, rose 4 percent to close at C$44.55, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) shares jumped 3.4 percent to C$32.13.

"There's just been a series of economic data being released that is slightly better than expectations," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. "And the fact that you are getting a broad-based rally says to me that people have confidence in the financial system,"

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 221.43 points, or 2.54 percent, to end at 8,941.82, its highest closing level in nearly a week.   Continued...