March 2, 2010 / 9:59 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX buoyed by Bank of Montreal, commodity gains

* TSX closes up 100.25 points at 11,828.31

* Materials, financials lead index higher (Updates to close, updates prices, adds quotes)

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, March 2 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index closed higher on Tuesday as commodity prices rallied and impressive quarterly results from Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) lifted the index’s heavily weighted financial sector.

The strong performance for Canada’s fourth-largest bank sent its shares, up 3.9 percent to C$58.85, and the rest of the financial sector higher as three stronger-than-expected results in a row raised expectations that the worst of credit woes are behind the nation’s big lenders. [ID:nN02136197]

“It’s one of the days when everything seems to be going right for the TSX,” said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

“We continue to see follow-through buying from yesterday’s exceptional GDP report and as far as today is concerned the Bank of Canada rate announcement didn’t have anything that could rattle the markets.”

Firm gold and oil prices also helped support the resource-heavy index.

Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s largest gold producer, was up 2.3 percent at C$40.95, while Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) added 1.7 percent at C$31.10 after Deutsche Bank raised its rating for Canada’s largest energy company.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 100.25 points, or 0.85 percent, at 11,828.31.

Also help push the index higher, shares of potash producers were up on reports that Russia is mulling a 15-percent export duty on potash exports, a move that could boost global prices. Shares of Potash Corp POT.TO, the world’s largest producer of the crop nutrient, were up 1.5 percent at C$119.65. [ID:nN02173946]

As well, Torstar Corp (TSb.TO) surged 15.5 percent at C$7.25 after brokerage TD Newcrest upgraded the stock to its top sector pick. [ID:nN02174766] (Reporting by Claire Sibonney, editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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