CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 31-month high as RIM, banks rally

Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:09am EST
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* Hits highest level since July 2008

* TSX ahead 0.6 pct to 14,012.97

* Citigroup raises RIM to "buy", stock jumps (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index marched to its highest level in 31 months on Wednesday on firm energy and financial issues, as well as on a rally by Research In Motion RIM.TO, after Citigroup raised its rating on the BlackBerry maker by two notches.

The TSX index rose above the 14,000 mark for the first time since July 7, 2008, aided by a 3 percent jump by RIM to C$66.69.

Citigroup raised its rating on the company to "buy" from "sell", saying Nokia's NOK1V.HE much criticized strategy to embrace Microsoft's (MSFT.O: Quote) operating system was making carriers spend more money promoting the BlackBerry maker. [ID:nSGE71F061]

"There's been positive reviews on RIM, which is helping the TSX," said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal.

He also noted the TSX's financial group rallied more than 1 percent to hit its highest level since May 2008, ahead of next week's start of bank earnings.   Continued...