* TSX up 0.09 percent at 11,379.22
* Bank shares down, miners rise
* Laurentian Bank reports higher profit, shares up (Adds details, comments)
By Cameron French
TORONTO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rallied late to end slightly higher on Wednesday, as initial concerns over foreign debt eased, while a weaker U.S. dollar spurred mining shares higher.
The financial and energy sectors pared losses but continued to weigh on the market at the close, finishing down 0.59 percent and 0.55 percent respectively, with the energy weakness due to a 2.6 percent drop in crude prices.
Concerns of further debt defaults rose after Standard & Poor’s cut its outlook on Spain to negative and warned of the risk of a debt downgrade, while Fitch Ratings cut Greece’s debt rating and Moody’s downgraded six Dubai-linked issuers on Tuesday.
“It was due to the macro news, the downgrade,” John Ing, president of Toronto investment dealer Maison Placements, said of the financial sector’s weakness.
Shares of the country’s No. 1 bank, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), fell 0.81 percent to C$54.78, while insurer Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) retreated 2.1 percent to C$17.49.
The strongest performer in the group was Laurentian Bank of Canada (LB.TO), which rose 0.83 percent to C$42.45, after it reported a higher quarterly profit and increased its dividend, making it the first domestic bank to raise its payout since the financial crisis hit. [ID:nN08197421]
All told, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 10.29 points, or 0.09 percent, to finish at 11,379.22. The late-session rally followed a drop to a one-week low of 11,248.92.
Seven of the ten main TSX subgroups finished lower.
Materials issues were the strongest group, rising 1.8 percent, helped by the U.S. dollar’s weakness.
($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson)