Banks give Toronto stocks a big lift

Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:20pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index powered to its second triple-digit gain in a row on Thursday as major banks climbed after releasing results that were not as bad as some analysts feared.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) was the biggest gainer by weight after it boosted its dividend, the only Canadian bank to do so this quarter.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), the country's biggest bank, also jumped after it beat market expectations and took lower writedowns than many analysts had anticipated.

TD rose 5.4 percent to C$62.56, while Royal climbed 6.3 percent to C$48.13. The sector rallied 4.2 percent.

"There's a signal there for the market that people are putting a lot of this financial crisis behind them, finally," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd. in Calgary.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 219.83 points, or 1.62 percent, at 13,750.48.

Thursday rounded out quarterly results from the so-called "Big Six" banks. All of the institutions rose, including Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote), which gained 4.7 percent to C$62.90. On Wednesday, it had reported smaller-than-expected charges.

Bay Street was also pushed higher by data out of the United States that showed the economy grew more quickly than first thought, at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter.   Continued...