* TSX up 23.23 points at 10,981.56
* Bank shares headline modest uptick
* Early rise follows two-week skid (Adds details and comments)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was slightly higher on Monday morning after a back-and-forth start to the session as investors tip-toed back into the market after a two-week slide.
Bank shares that were unloaded last week helped power the early gain. Shares of Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) were up 0.8 percent at C$46.48, while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) shares rose 0.6 percent to C$52.13.
The modest uptick in the TSX follows a two-week skid during which the index shed 4.3 percent and touched its lowest level in a month. That opened the door to some buying by investors who were optimistic that upcoming data and corporate news will paint an upbeat economic picture.
Shares of Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) also helped to prop up the index as the company, after years of negotiations, is expected to sign an investment agreement with Mongolia on Tuesday that will allow it to develop the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposit. [ID:nPEK216609]
Ivanhoe shares were up 3.5 percent at C$14.11.
At 10:15 a.m. (1415 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 23.23 points, or 0.21 percent, at 10,981.56.
“We’ve really been going down for a while and people are looking ahead and thinking that October is not going to be the bad or brutal month that we always seem to anticipate,” said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities.
“Usually bottoms are made in October. We’ve been drifting down for a while and now there is just a little bit of enthusiasm for equities.” (Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway)