July 18, 2008 / 9:01 PM / 11 years ago

REFILE-UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks get lift from financials, oils

(Refiles to fix typo in headline) (Updates closing numbers, adds details)

* TSX ends higher but trims gains with oil sector

* Financials gain after better-than-expected U.S. results

TORONTO, July 18 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index pushed higher on Friday, supported by energy shares, while financials were buoyed as another U.S. bank posted better than expected quarter results.

The benchmark trimmed earlier gains as the energy sector — a key pillar of the index, along with financials — eased as the price of oil retreated in the afternoon.

The heavyweight financial sector, which has absorbed the brunt of the fallout from the credit crunch, jumped more than 10 percent in the past three sessions, buoyed by results from banks south of the border that were not as bad as expected.

On Friday, Citigroup (C.N), the largest U.S. bank by assets, reported a smaller than expected loss, helping to lift investor confidence in the financial markets.

In Toronto, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) rose 98 Canadian cents, or 2.2 percent, to C$45.96, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) added 66 Canadian cents, or 1.2 percent, to C$57.76. The sector overall gained 0.9 percent.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 55.71 points, or 0.41 percent, at 13,515.96 with all but three of its 10 main sectors looking up.

The energy sector added 0.8 percent, with EnCana (ECA.TO) ahead 81 Canadian cents, or 1 percent, at C$78.81, and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) up 44 Canadian cents, or 0.9 percent, at C$48.84.

The sector had benefited from a rise in oil early in the session, but the commodity later turned around amid demand concerns, as well as easing tension between Iran and the West.

Crude fell for a fourth straight session, settling down 41 cents, or 0.32 percent, at $128.88 a barrel. The price has dropped nearly 13 percent from last week’s record high above $147.

The materials sector fell 0.8 percent, while miners were taken lower by weak prices for gold and other metals. Declines in fertilizer companies also took the group lower, with Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO down C$4.15, or 1.9 percent, at C$211.16, and Agrium AGU.TO off C$1.28, or 1.3 percent, at C$93.96. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson)

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