CANADA STOCKS-TSX powered higher by banks, energy issues
* TSX up 86.32 points, or 0.67 pct, at 12,956.33
* Financial lead gains; nine of 10 main groups higher
* Research In Motion up 2.1 percent (Updates with analysts comments, details)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished higher on Friday, with strong bank issues leading a broad-based rise, as easing worries over euro zone debt levels overrode concerns about monetary tightening in China.
The influential financial group was up 0.84 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) gaining 1.92 percent to C$55.32. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) rose 1.91 percent to C$60.33 and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) advanced 1.15 percent to C$54.65.
"There's been a fair amount of speculation that one or two of the banks could even increase dividends at this point," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel, noting the banks are scheduled to report their results later this months and early December.
"I'm not sure that they're going to jump the gun and do so quite this quickly, but nonetheless there are a few of them that are in good positions that could do so if they want to."
Manulife Financial was by far the index's most influential decliner, losing 2.17 percent to finish at C$15.35. Investors took some profits after shares hit three-month highs on Thursday. [ID:nN19171180]
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 86.32 points, or 0.67 percent, at 12,956.33. The index gained 1.6 percent for the week.
Nine of the TSX's 10 main sectors finished higher, with healthcare issues the lone decliner, falling 0.5 percent.
The energy group rose 1.03 percent, with Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) rising 2.81 percent to C$29.26 and Talisman Energy TLM.TO gaining 2.43 percent to C$20.22.
After an initial retreat, the market largely shrugged off news that China would raise bank reserve requirements for the second time in two weeks, as it continued its fight to rein in prices. [ID:nL3E6MJ0N8]
"I think the feeling is that perhaps things were oversold and so we've got some people coming in and buying up some stocks again," said Sprung.
Markets have worried that China's tightening will cool growth and cut demand for commodities such as oil and metals.
Fears that European sovereign debt levels could undermine the global recovery have eased in recent days on expectations that a multibillion-euro aid plan to end Ireland's debt crisis will be unveiled next week. [ID:nLDE6AI0QG]
"I think this has served to calm the waters somewhat on that front, so I think that lent a fairly positive tone to the markets for the most part," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.
Research In Motion RIM.TO was another big mover, finishing the session 2.07 percent higher at C$59.76.
"You're just seeing a little bit more positive sentiment toward the stock; more people taking a look at it as a company that is very inexpensive relative to their growth rate," said Gorman. News that companies are adopting RIM's PlayBook tablet computer has also been received positively by investors. [ID:nN17192385]
($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson)
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