CANADA STOCKS-Bank earnings outlook helps bolster TSX

Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:16pm EST
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   * TSX up 43.82 points, or 0.34 percent, 12,945.81
 * Eight of the 10 main sectors higher
 * Banks climb on earnings, dividend expectations
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
finished higher on Thursday as expectations for a healthy bank
earnings season, starting next week, buoyed financial issues.
 Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was among the biggest gainers,
advancing 0.6 percent, to C$55.29. Toronto-Dominion Bank
(TD.TO: Quote) rose 0.67 percent to C$75.31. All of the major banks
were higher, lifting the influential financial group 0.58
 "There is speculation that maybe one or two of (the banks)
might even announce a dividend increase. That probably is what
is spurring that sector," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity
trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE rose 43.82 points, or 0.34 percent, to 12,945.81.
 "The market is reacting a little bit to some firmness in
plans in Europe, but clearly we're looking for direction
tomorrow," said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO
Harris Investment Management Inc.
 With Wall Street closed for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday,
trading was quiet.
 Eight of the 10 main sectors advanced. Consumer staples was
down 0.2 percent while healthcare issues fell 0.31 percent.
 The energy sector rose 0.3 percent in tandem with oil
prices, which edged higher on the back of a softer U.S. dollar.
[O/R] Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) was up 0.47 percent at C$34.55
while Nexen Inc NXY.TO gained 1 percent to C$21.44.
 Gold prices were mostly unchanged, leaving gold miners
without solid direction. [GOL/] Barrick Gold's (ABX.TO: Quote) 1.07
percent rise to C$52.11 helped lift the materials sector 0.14
percent. Tempering the gains was a 0.24 percent drop by
Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote), which finished at C$46.20.
 Overseas, Ireland's government expressed confidence it
would be able to pass the toughest budget in the country's
history despite an expected by-election defeat. Dublin's
efforts to cut the worst deficit in Europe will form the basis
of an 85 billion euro bailout from the IMF and the EU.
 But ongoing concerns over whether other euro zone members
such as Portugal could manage their debt continued to weigh.
Earlier this year, Greece received a 110 billion euro bailout.
 "It's a broad issue ... the concern is that an isolated
situation in Greece is becoming something more pervasive," said
Taylor. "I'm just surprised the clouds were not darker."
 In individual issues, Tim Hortons THI.TO, which said it
was refinancing $100 million of maturing debt, was the lead
decliner, sliding 1.43 percent to C$40.54. It has been trading
at all time highs in recent sessions. [ID:nN25280805]
 ($1=$1.01 Canadian)
 (Editing by Rob Wilson)