May 25, 2009 / 9:16 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Buoyant financials lift TSX in quiet session

* TSX finishes up 0.76 percent at 10,069.50

* Index stays in narrow range in quiet trade

* Financials up 2.1 percent ahead of bank earnings (Adds details, quotes)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, May 25 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index ended higher on Monday, led by the financials sector, as investors snapped up bank shares in anticipation of a healthy earnings season.

Financials climbed 2.1 percent as Canadian banks are expected to report another profitable quarter this week, defying global trends. This spring’s stock market rise is seen offsetting higher loan losses and lower income from interest and fees. [ID:nN22381048] [ID:nN22511243]

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) climbed 1 percent to C$42.65 and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) rose 2.3 percent to C$36.79.

“Investors are feeling a little bit better about the banks,” said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager and president at KCM Wealth Management Inc in Vancouver. “We’re waiting for the bank earnings.”

While speculation about bank earnings may be boosting financials, there is also follow-through on an existing theme of optimism about a global economic recovery, said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.

“The financials have been rallying hard since the end of March. They have been really leading the market. Energy has followed suit as part of that,” he said.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 76.08 points, or 0.76 percent, at 10,069.50, with seven of its 10 main groups higher.

Materials fell 0.3 percent, industrials slipped 0.6 percent and the health care group fell 0.2 percent.

But despite strength in financials, there was “not a great movement one way or another,” added Mastracci, noting volumes were thin due to market holidays in the United States and Britain.

With trend-setting U.S. and British markets closed, trading on the TSX was quiet at around 220 million shares. The year-to-date average daily volume is just above 500 million shares, according to exchange operator TMX Group (X.TO).

The energy group rose 0.2 percent with EnCana (ECA.TO) up 0.83 percent at C$58.49 and Nexen Inc NXY.TO ahead 1.2 percent at C$24.80.

Oil prices fell toward $61 a barrel on Monday, giving away some of last week’s gains ahead of OPEC’s meeting in Vienna, where the group is widely expected to agree not to cut oil output further. [ID:nSYD459549]

Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO) rose 0.5 percent to C$42.23 after the company said on Monday it would go ahead with its C$8 billion Kearl project, the first major new oil sands development to be approved since the recession forced a spate of cancellations. [ID:nN25444338]

In materials, Gold miner Goldcorp (G.TO) fell 1.3 percent to C$41.44, while Kinross Gold (K.TO) dropped 1.6 percent to C$21.09. ($1=$1.12 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)

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