* TSX gains 0.27 percent to 12,102.97
* Financial shares up 0.85 pct
* Energy stocks pare early losses (Adds details, paragraphs 11-13)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, April 19 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended higher on Monday as financial shares gained on positive U.S. earnings and economic data, and commodity stocks pared early losses triggered by last week’s fraud charges against Goldman Sachs.
The charges against the Wall Street financial powerhouse initially shook equity and commodity markets for a second consecutive session, and took the Toronto index down nearly 1 percent to its lowest level in more than three weeks.
But heavily weighted financial shares helped draw the index into positive territory late in the session, supported by expectation-beating results from U.S. bank Citigroup (C.N) and a larger than expected gain in an index of leading U.S. economic indicators. [ID:nN19175994] [ID:nN19163699]
Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country’s largest lender, gained 0.99 percent to C$62, and No. 2 Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO rose 1.1 percent to C$76.97. Overall, the financial sector gained 0.85 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 32.31 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,102.97. Half of its 10 sectors were higher.
There was also relief that no new lawsuits against other big banks emerged on Monday, and market players were able to focus on corporate results and the economic recovery.
“The lack of any additional news today has made people a little bit more comfortable that this won’t turn into a large number of lawsuits against a large number of firms,” said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Goldman news and resulting risk aversion initially weighed on price of oil, pulling it below $82 a barrel, sending energy shares sharply lower at the start of the day.
But the energy group pared nearly all its losses by day’s end, finishing down 0.06 percent.
Shares of Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), Canada’s biggest oil company, rebounded to end up 1.19 percent at C$34.05, while Nexen NXY.TO was up 1.32 percent at C$26.14.
Warne said earnings continue to be a key focus as investors assess whether companies are delivering solid results to back up the economic recovery and whether the outlook is positive.
Airline stocks were also in focus as the ash cloud from Iceland’s volcano brushed up against Canada’s East Coast on Monday. However, airlines said domestic flight cancellations were mostly because of fog in the region. [ID:nN19219075]
Major airlines reversed early weakness with Air Canada ACa.TO ending ahead 0.4 percent at C$2.51, while WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) was up 0.74 percent at C$13.60.
$1=$1.01 Canadian Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; editing by Rob Wilson