UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks inch up, but banks weigh

Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:23pm EDT
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* TSX ends little changed as financials offset oils

* Banks slide after weaker than expected results

* Energy shares give lift as oil prices rise (Adds details, quotes)

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended little changed on Tuesday as energy shares rose along with oil prices and managed to offset a weak banking sector that was hit by lackluster quarterly results.

Kicking off the round of earnings reports for the major banks, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) both slid after they posted profits that came in below already lowered expectations. For details, see: [ID:nN26504059].

Scotiabank, Canada's third largest bank, fell 2.5 percent to C$46.45 after it said its profit skidded 2 percent, as provisions for credit losses climbed and revenue from capital markets fell.

BMO eased 0.3 percent to C$43.94 as its profit tumbled 21 percent, while it also had larger loan-loss provisions due to weak U.S. real estate markets. The stock sagged as much as 4 percent earlier in the session.

The underwhelming performances helped knock 1.1 percent off the TSX financial sector, and analysts said the earnings likely set the tone for what can be expected throughout the week as the rest of the major banks announce results.   Continued...