* TSX rises 0.2 percent to 11,851.91
* Materials, energy gain on higher commodity prices
* Bank results mixed, Royal Bank falls, Laurentian gains
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, March 3 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index rose on Wednesday as resource issues were boosted by a rally in oil and gold prices but gains were tempered by soft financials after weaker than expected results from Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO).
Energy shares were on the rise as the price of oil advanced above $80 a barrel, pushing Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Canada’s biggest oil company, up 1.7 percent to C$31.54.
Gold-mining stocks added to Tuesday’s gains after the price of the precious metal hit a 6-1/2 week high. Goldcorp (G.TO) rose 1.6 percent to C$41.36, while Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) gained 1.87 percent to C$11.42.
At 10:45 a.m. (1545 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 23.60 points, or 0.2 percent, at 11,851.91. Half of the index’s 10 main groups were higher, led by a 1.21 percent rise in materials and a 0.44 percent advance in energy. Financials fell 0.2 percent.
“Commodities are carrying the day,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.
Royal Bank said its quarterly profit rose 35 percent on strong domestic banking and lower loan losses, but the results were weaker than some expected, sending the shares 2.2 percent lower to C$56.96. [ID:nN03214185]
Laurentian Bank (LB.TO), however, shot up 4 percent to C$42 after its results blew past expectations. [ID:nN03225886]
February reports that showed private sector employers cut fewer jobs and the U.S. service sector expanded added to improved sentiment about the U.S. economic recovery ahead of this Friday’s highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report. [ID:nN03225657] [ID:nN02164233]
“People are still concerned that the recovery is quite fragile,” said Sprung, adding that concern about Greece lingers.
The Greek government unveiled 4.8 billion euros worth of new austerity measures on Wednesday designed to meet European Union demands for extra savings to help ease the way for any EU rescue from the threat of default. [ID:nLDE6221AG]
$1=$1.03 Canadian Additional reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway