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 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, 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, 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...