* Market focus on this week’s quarterly U.S. bank reports
* Energy sector fights back after taking hit from oil drop (Adds details)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, April 13 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished up nearly 1 percent on Monday with bank and insurance shares buoyed by optimism that quarterly U.S. bank results this week will show the sector has stabilized after being shaken hard in the global financial crisis.
Bets that the U.S. financial group will post reassuring results pushed up the main Toronto index’s financial sector 2 percent. Royal Bank of Canada rose 2.58 percent to C$40.60.
“We’re kind of back in the mentality that the first quarter earnings, at least on the financial side, are going to be fairly good. Step one is to try to get some solid earnings in that sector,” said Andrew Pyle, a wealth advisor at ScotiaMcLeod in Peterborough, Ontario.
He said that if U.S. banks report positive results, then that will suggest that credit conditions overall have probably started to improve, as well as the availability and access to capital.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 98.50 points, or 1.07 percent, at 9,285.62. Earlier it hit 9,310.89, its highest level since Jan. 7.
Seven of the index’s 10 main groups advanced.
The energy sector was also on the move higher as the price of oil pared early losses. Crude oil skidded after the International Energy Agency cut its forecast for oil demand deeply. [ID:nSP462067]
But the oil group fought back after initial weakness, finishing the session up 0.53 percent.
$1=$1.22 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway