CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher on bank earnings, gold rise

Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:43pm EST
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* TSX index up 0.66 percent at 11,598.00

* Two banks top expectations, shares up

* Golds shine as precious metal turns higher (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was firmer on Thursday afternoon as healthy bank earnings and a turnaround in the price of gold lifted two of the index's biggest sectors.

The financials group was up about 1 percent, spurred by better than expected results from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO: Quote).

The results kicked off the financial sector's earnings season, and raised the outlook for rivals' profits next week. [ID:nN25244939]

All six big banks rose, with CIBC up 2.76 percent at C$69.69, while National gained 1.33 percent to C$59.39.

The index had opened lower as soft U.S. economic data cast doubt on the pace of the global economic recovery, while Greece's sovereign debt woes continued to weigh on investor sentiment. [ID:nN2597849] [ID:nN24204733] [ID:nTOE61O07J]   Continued...