CANADA STOCKS-TSX gains on bank earnings, higher oil

Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:46pm EST
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* TSX closes up 3.21 percent at 8,186.62

* Financial sector rallies on bank results

* Energy group boosted by higher crude price (Adds details, quote)

TORONTO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index climbed on Thursday for a third straight session in a rally sparked by better-than-expected bank earnings and stronger oil prices.

Financials and energy stocks were among the biggest contributors to the index's rise, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) up 6.4 percent at C$31.90, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) up 11 percent at C$25.66.

The financial sector rose 6.2 percent and the energy group was up 4.4 percent.

Three of Canada's largest banks -- Royal Bank of Canada, CIBC (CM.TO: Quote) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO: Quote) -- reported quarterly profits on Thursday that were hit hard by market-related charges, but underlying results excluding one-time items beat street expectations. [ID:nN26542233]

"The Canadian banks have shown performance that was actually better than expected," said Rick Meslin, head of Canadian equities at UBS.

"Clearly, banks have been very, very strong today following some of the positive earnings reports."   Continued...