CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher for third straight day on oils, banks

Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:24pm EST
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* TSX closes up 3.21 percent at 8,186.62

* Financial sector rallies on upbeat bank results

* Energy group higher as crude jumps 6 percent (Adds details, quotes)

By Jennifer Kwan

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 the country's largest banks -- Royal Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO: Quote) -- reported quarterly profits 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.   Continued...