CANADA STOCKS-TSX rallies 3 pct on strength in banks, energy

Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:21am EST
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* Bank results top expectations, spark rally

* Energy group boosted by rising price of oil

* Drop in gold price holds back materials group (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index climbed more than 3 percent on Thursday morning, lifted by bank earnings that topped expectations and supported by rising crude prices.

A mix of financials and energy stocks were among the biggest contributors to the index's rise, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), the biggest contributor, up 6.7 percent at C$31.99.

RBC reported a 15 percent drop in quarterly profit, but beat analysts' expectations after market-related losses and other items were excluded. [ID:nN26542233]

Other banks also rose, pushing the financials group up more than 6 percent. CIBC (CM.TO: Quote) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO: Quote) joined RBC in reporting underlying results that came in ahead of expectations.

CIBC rose 4.8 percent to C$45.36, while National Bank gained 8 percent to C$37.08.   Continued...