* TSX index rises 2.16 percent to 8,482.47
* Financial sector up 4.6 percent
* Rogers shares up on report company has chosen CEO (Adds details, quotes)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, March 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was sharply higher at midday on Monday on strength in financial issues, which climbed on hope of stabilization in the world banking industry.
The sector was supported by news that Britain's Barclays Bank (BARC.L) said it had a strong start to the year. [ID:nLG308800] Last week, Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase offered reassuring statements about their profitability [ID:nLG518010].
Gareth Watson, Canadian equity advisor, at ScotiaMcLeod's Portfolio Advisory Group said "signs of optimism" coming out of banks help to boost the broad market.
Financials were also helped by comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said he sees a U.S. recovery beginning in 2010. [ID:nLG112344]
"If you're of influence and you say something optimistic about the economy well, of course, financials are one of the most economically sensitive sectors out there so it's natural to see a bit of a lift in the financials," Watson said.
At 12:06 p.m. (1606 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 179.08 points, or 2.16 percent, at 8,482.47, with nine of its 10 main groups higher. Materials were down 0.04 percent.
The energy sector was up 1.5 percent as oil prices rebounded above $46 a barrel after being lower earlier in the day. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose 1 percent at C$48.20.
Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO), which owns Canada's biggest wireless phone carrier, was up 4.5 percent at C$29.55.
The Globe and Mail, citing a source close to the situation, reported that Rogers has decided to name Rogers executive Nadir Mohamed as its chief executive. The decision, which has been finalized internally, could possibly be made public in a week or two, the Globe said. [ID:nBNG426363]
$1=$1.27 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Peter Galloway