CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs on gold rally, bank earnings boost
* TSX rises more than 2 pct, then trims gains
* Materials sector up 3.6 percent as gold nears $1,000/oz
* Financials rise after two straight down days (Adds details, quote)
TORONTO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index climbed on Thursday afternoon as soaring gold prices pushed up materials shares and as investors returned to financial shares after a selloff earlier this week.
Gold miner Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) gained 4.4 percent to C$43.76 to lead all influential risers, while Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote), up 4.35 percent at C$45.77, was not far behind.
The broader materials sector was up 3.6 percent, helped by strength in base metals and gold, which neared $1,000 an ounce.
At 2:19 p.m. (1819 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 194.24, or 1.8 percent, at 10,894.63.
"The gains have been fairly broad based but the materials sector has been the key driver," said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.
"Both base and precious metals have advanced. The huge rally on the Shanghai composite overnight helped boost market sentiment and sparked rotation back into the riskier assets."
Risk appetite was strengthened by overseas markets where emerging stocks .MSCIEF gained, and Shanghai stocks .SSEC climbed after China's top regulator assured investors that the country's market was healthy. The health of Chinese stocks has often been seen lately as a barometer of economic optimism.
Financials were also strong performers, up 1.4 percent after two straight down days, following better-than-expected earnings from a pair of regional banks that closed the Canadian banks' earnings season. [ID:nN039427]
The results reminded investors of the trend of upside surprises by Canada's major banks in the third quarter, which had spurred big gains last week.
Among the top banking gainers were Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), up 1.3 percent at C$55.45, and Toronto Dominion Bank TD.TO, up 1.2 percent at C$65.06. (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan and Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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