UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks rise broadly, led by oils, banks

Fri Feb 1, 2008 4:57pm EST
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(Updates numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO Feb 1 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index climbed broadly higher on Friday, helped by robust energy and banking shares, solid earnings, and optimism over Microsoft's takeover bid for Yahoo.

The energy and financials sectors led the way, gaining 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent respectively as investors sensed bargains after the market's recent slump.

The banking sector was also boosted as investors continued digest the U.S. interest rate cut earlier in the week and were hopeful of another cut from the Bank of Canada.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) gained C$1.32, or 2.3 percent, to C$58.07, while in the energy sector, Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) was up C$1.33, or 2 percent, at C$67.52.

Oil and gas producers were also boosted by reports of massive profits at Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: Quote) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N: Quote) on the back of record high oil prices.

"The financials definitely had the brunt of selloff when the market was down to almost 12,000 last month, so certainly some buying is coming back into those groups," said Elvis Picardo, investment strategist at Northern Securities Inc. in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 163.27 points, or 1.24 percent, at 13,318.37 with eight of its 10 main groups finishing higher.

TransAlta Corp (TA.TO: Quote) gained 62 Canadian cents, or 1.9 percent, to C$32.52 after it returned to profit in the fourth quarter and said it is looking at selling its Mexican power plants.   Continued...