CANADA STOCKS-TSX rallies at day's end as financials rise

Fri Dec 5, 2008 4:52pm EST
 
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* Toronto index snaps losing skid at four sessions

* Late push by financial shares helps index close higher

* TSX finishes week down 12.4 percent (Adds details)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index capped off a losing week with a higher close on Friday as a rebound in financial shares on encouraging news from a U.S. insurer helped offset the drag lower oil prices had on the resource-heavy market.

A slide in oil prices to a four-year low proved to be the key driver behind the energy sector's 1 percent fall, and was also to blame for sending the key index down as much as 255 points early in the session.

But a rebound in the heavily-weighted financial sector, which accounts for about a third of the overall index, picked up steam late to snap the index's four-session losing streak.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 59.21 points, or 0.73 percent, at 8,117.03, with five of its 10 subindexes ending higher. For the week, the key index fell 12.4 percent, due largely to a whopping 864-point skid on Monday.

Canadian bank stocks mostly took their cue from their U.S. counterparts, which rose after insurer Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG.N: Quote) raised its 2008 profit forecast and said it had more than enough capital to withstand significant further deterioration in equity markets.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) shares added to gains recorded in the previous session and rose 7.7 percent to C$49.75, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) rose 4.3 percent to C$33.65.

($1=$1.27 Canadian) (Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway)