CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on Bank of Montreal, gold rally

Tue Mar 2, 2010 5:58pm EST
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* TSX closes up 100.25 points at 11,828.31

* Materials, financials lead index higher (Adds quotes, details)

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, March 2 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index closed higher on Tuesday as commodity prices rallied and impressive quarterly results from Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) lifted the index's heavily weighted financial sector.

The strong performance for Bank of Montreal, Canada's fourth-largest bank, sent its shares up 3.9 percent to C$58.85.

The rest of the index's financial sector also rose as three stronger-than-expected bank results in a row -- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada reported last week -- raised expectations that the worst of credit woes are behind the nation's big lenders. [ID:nN02136197]

Also helping the index rise, the Bank of Canada held its key interest rate at a record low of 0.25 percent on Tuesday [ID:nN02149877], while a report on Monday showing robust fourth-quarter economic growth continued to play a supporting role. [ID:nN01242801]

"It's one of the days when everything seems to be going right for the TSX," said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"We continue to see follow-through buying from yesterday's exceptional GDP report and as far as today is concerned the Bank of Canada rate announcement didn't have anything that could rattle the markets."   Continued...