CANADA STOCKS-TSX rallies late, despite weak financials

Wed Dec 9, 2009 4:48pm EST
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 * TSX up 0.09 percent at 11,379.22
 * Bank shares down, miners rise
 * Laurentian Bank reports higher profit, shares up
 (Adds details, comments)
 By Cameron French
 TORONTO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
rallied late to end slightly higher on Wednesday, as initial
concerns over foreign debt eased, while a weaker U.S. dollar
spurred mining shares higher.
 The financial and energy sectors pared losses but continued
to weigh on the market at the close, finishing down 0.59
percent and 0.55 percent respectively, with the energy weakness
due to a 2.6 percent drop in crude prices.
 Concerns of further debt defaults rose after Standard &
Poor's cut its outlook on Spain to negative and warned of the
risk of a debt downgrade, while Fitch Ratings cut Greece's debt
rating and Moody's downgraded six Dubai-linked issuers on
 "It was due to the macro news, the downgrade," John Ing,
president of Toronto investment dealer Maison Placements, said
of the financial sector's weakness.
 Shares of the country's No. 1 bank, Royal Bank of Canada
RY.TO, fell 0.81 percent to C$54.78, while insurer Manulife
Financial MFC.TO retreated 2.1 percent to C$17.49.
 The strongest performer in the group was Laurentian Bank of
Canada LB.TO, which rose 0.83 percent to C$42.45, after it
reported a higher quarterly profit and increased its dividend,
making it the first domestic bank to raise its payout since the
financial crisis hit. [ID:nN08197421]
 All told, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 10.29
points, or 0.09 percent, to finish at 11,379.22. The
late-session rally followed a drop to a one-week low of
 Seven of the ten main TSX subgroups finished lower.
 Materials issues were the strongest group, rising 1.8
percent, helped by the U.S. dollar's weakness.
 ($1=$1.05 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson)