January 23, 2008 / 9:54 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 4-Toronto stocks lifted by banks in choppy session

(Updates with official closing numbers, adds detail)

TORONTO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index rebounded from early losses to end slightly higher on Wednesday, as the financial sector posted a late turnaround amid talk of capital infusions for U.S. bond insurers.

The heavyweight financial sector rose 3.8 percent after news that New York’s insurance regulator had met with major banks to talk about a plan to help out bond insurers.

The Financial Times reported that major banks are under pressure from the state’s insurance regulators to inject as much as $15 billion in new capital.

In Toronto, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO, Canada’s fifth biggest bank, jumped C$4.16, or 6.4 percent, to C$69.62.

CIBC has the biggest exposure of any Canadian bank to the battered U.S. subprime market, some of which it has hedged with U.S. bond insurer ACA Capital Holdings Inc, and other bond insurers.

Bank of Montreal BMO.TO rose C$2.21 or 4.1 percent, to C$55.85 and Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO was up C$2.20, or 4.5 percent, at C$50.99.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 16.50 points, or 0.13 percent, at 12,657.38 with six of its 10 main sectors higher.

The late-afternoon rally offset sagging resources shares that had earlier pulled the index down by as much as 400 points on persistent fears of a U.S. recession.

The materials and energy sectors remained on the downside, off 2.7 percent and 2.2 percent respectively. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO was down C$5.00, or 3.9 percent, at C$121.88 and Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO shed C$2.91, or 4.6 percent, to C$60.97.

The volatile session came a day after Tuesday’s 500-point gain, which ended a heavy five-session slump. The index has closed up in just two out of the past seven sessions.

$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr and Lynne Olver; Editing by Rob Wilson

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