TSX rises as financial sector shares rally

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock rose on Monday in light volume following a long weekend, as strengthening in financial and consumer names offset losses for healthcare and commodity-related stocks.

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

The index, which was closed for the Good Friday holiday, extended its rebound from a two-week low on Thursday at 13,255.47. However, it held comfortably below the four-month high of 13,685.45, reached on March 17.

“We have had a good rebound on the Canadian banks and that seems to be following through today,” said Patrick Blais, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management, noting “a relaxation of the concerns surrounding financials.”

The sector had been hindered by financial system risk related to an over-extended consumer and a stretched housing market, as well as credit risk in energy names and areas of the country dependent on energy, he added.

The most influential movers on the index included Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, which rose 1.1 percent to C$74.75, and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO, which advanced 0.8 percent to C$55.73.

The overall financial services group rose 0.8 percent.

It’s “more of a rotation” into consumer and financial names after a good move in commodity related stocks, according to Sid Mokhtari, market technician and director, institutional equity research, at CIBC World Markets.

The consumer discretionary group advanced 0.6 percent, with discount chain Dollarama Inc DOL.TO up 1.8 percent at C$80.84 and fast food chain Restaurant Brands International QSR.TO adding 1.3 percent to C$50.47.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 32.08 points, or 0.24 percent, at 13,390.19.

Five of the index’s 10 main groups were higher.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO, which is coping with a variety of federal investigations into its accounting practices, fell 7.6 percent to C$38.07.

Its chief executive has been summoned to testify at a U.S. congressional hearing on April 27.

Industrial and commodity related stocks also dragged, trimming gains since January. Industrials fell 0.2 percent, including losses for railway stocks.

The energy group fell 0.4 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, also lost 0.4 percent.

“The move that we had for the gold and the energy complex, initially was a good move. It’s probably going to stay volatile, but with a higher tilt,” said Mokhtari.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp Editing by W Simon and Alan Crosby