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* TSX up 44.69 points at 11,624.02
* Bank and energy shares power rally (Adds details, comments)
By Cameron French
TORONTO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index pared early gains but ended higher on Monday, touching its highest level in nearly 14 months as an early rally in oil prices powered energy stocks, while financials gained ground ahead of a flood of bank earnings reports.
Despite a late retreat by oil prices -- which ended marginally higher after being up as much as $2 a barrel -- the energy sector closed up 0.71 percent.
Suncor Energy SU.TO rose 1.9 percent to C$38.80, while UTS Energy Corp UTS.TO climbed 3 percent to C$2.09.
Financials, meanwhile, gained 0.51 percent, bolstered by top players such as Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO, as investors hoped the upcoming first-quarter reporting period would show the continued mending of the sector.
“There’s still quite a bit of bullish sentiment for the banks,” said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist and Global Securities in Vancouver.
Royal Bank rose 1.2 percent to C$58.19, while CIBC gained 1 percent to C$68.25.
Bank of Montreal BMO.TO, which was the lone Canadian bank stock to fall during the session, easing 0.6 percent to C$53.55, kicks off the earnings parade on Tuesday.
All told, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 44.69 points, or 0.39 percent, to finish at 11,624.02.
Earlier it climbed as high as 11,737.84, its highest level since Oct. 1, 2008.
Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds, said investors are likely looking ahead to the traditionally strong period of stock trading that often follows U.S. Thanksgiving, which falls on Thursday.
“You tend to get the Santa Claus rally ... because a lot of investors have taken their tax losses for the year,” he said.
Gold prices extended their record run, pushing above $1,160 an ounce and giving the sector a modest bump.
Yamana Gold YRI.TO climbed 1.8 percent to C$14.40, while Iamgold IMG.TO rose 2.4 percent to C$20.65, helping to offset a generally weak performance by base metals miners.
The strongest industrial metals miner was First Quantum Minerals FM.TO, which rose 6.3 percent to C$80.11 after it said it had agreed to buy Zambia-focused miner Kiwara Plc KIWA.L in a cash and share deal worth $260 million.
$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson email@example.com; 416-941-8199: Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org