December 29, 2014 / 12:52 PM / in 3 years

TSX closes higher, boosted by bank stocks

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday in its first session back from the Christmas holiday, lifted by a recovering financial sector.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Canadian bank stocks have gained ground in recent sessions after dropping in early December after reporting largely disappointing financial results.

Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services, said bank shares had been hurt by unfounded fears that they would be hit hard by lower oil prices.

“That was a buying opportunity; that was Santa’s gift to those who were paying attention, and they’re still kind of cheap,” he said.

Energy stocks rose in early trading, and some stayed in positive territory into the close even as crude oil prices reversed, dropping to their lowest levels since May 2009. Oil prices have slumped in recent months amid a supply glut. [O/R]

Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) closed up 1.3 percent at C$59.64, and TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) rose 1.4 percent to C$57.06.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 54.67 points, or 0.37 percent, at 14,663.92.

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) played the biggest role in lifting the index, rising 1.0 percent to C$66.96. Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.7 percent to C$80.82. Overall the financial sector closed up 0.5 percent.

The materials sector edged up 0.2 percent, boosted by shares of gold miners. Spot gold fell on Monday, but had jumped on Friday when Canadian equity markets were closed for the Boxing Day holiday. [GOL/]

Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) rose 0.5 percent to C$20.67, while rival Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) was up 1.3 percent at C$12.18.

Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and David Gregorio

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