UPDATE 5-Toronto stocks boosted by banks in late-day rally

Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:44pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO Jan 23 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index rebounded from early losses to end slightly higher on Wednesday as its financial sector posted a late turnaround after talk of capital infusions for U.S. bond insurers.

The heavyweight financial sector rose 3.8 percent after news that New York's insurance regulator had met with major banks to talk about a plan to help out bond insurers.

The Financial Times reported that major banks are under pressure from New York state's insurance regulators to inject as much as $15 billion in new capital.

A rally in U.S. financial stocks on hopes for a rescue plan led the way higher for Canadian banks.

In Toronto, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote), Canada's fifth-largest bank, jumped C$4.16, or 6.4 percent, to C$69.62.

CIBC has the biggest exposure of any Canadian bank to the battered U.S. subprime market, some of which it has hedged with U.S. bond insurer ACA Capital Holdings Inc, and other bond insurers.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) rose C$2.21, or 4.1 percent, to C$55.85, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was up C$2.20, or 4.5 percent, at C$50.99.   Continued...