October 22, 2009 / 8:37 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-Financials lead TSX to higher close

 * TSX finishes up 0.8 percent at 11,533.37
 * Banks most influential climbers, sector up 1.5 percent
 * BoC says economy recovering, but faces hurdles  (Updates to close with additional details, prices)
 By Ka Yan Ng
 TORONTO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished higher on Thursday as investor optimism buoyed financial issues after the Bank of Canada said the domestic economy is recovering faster than expected.
 But the central bank, which fleshed out its upgraded growth forecasts for the third and fourth quarters, also cautioned the economy faces a number of risks, including a weak U.S. economy and a Canadian dollar that seems set to stay strong. [ID:nN22502163]
 Nonetheless, investors took the opportunity to pile into banks and insurance issues, with all five big Canadian banks in the top 10 notable advancers and each gaining close to 2 percent or more.
 The charge higher was led by Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), up 2.4 percent at C$65.72, followed by Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), up 1.7 percent at C$56.57.
 “The move up is being led by financials. They are the major beneficiaries of the the Bank of Canada’s Monetary Policy Report today,” said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
 “It gives the market confidence to know that the bank is endorsing the economic recovery. Financial stocks are heavily leveraged to the Canadian economy.”
 The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished 91.35 points higher, or 0.8 percent, at 11,533.37, reversing losses at the start of the day.
 On the flipside, oil prices fell from a one-year high [O/R] and weighed on some energy shares, with Suncor Energy (SU.TO), the biggest drag on the index. It fell 1.2 percent to C$39.20, while fellow oil company Husky Energy (HSE.TO) dropped 5.1 percent to C$30.95.
 Potash Corp (POT.TO) recovered after investors punished the stock when the fertilizer producer reported a lower quarterly profit. The stock ended at C$108.08, up 0.73 percent. [ID:nN22505738]  (Editing by Rob Wilson)                                      

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