April 26, 2010 / 9:05 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises to highest close since Sept 2008

* TSX ends up 0.34 percent at 12,280.97

* Royal Bank hits lifetime high on upgrade

* RIM shows new operating system, stock rebounds (Updates with closing numbers, details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, April 26 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished higher for a sixth straight session on Monday, helped by strength in consumer discretionary issues and financials.

Some banks were in favor, particularly Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country’s biggest bank, which hit a record high of C$62.25 during the session.

Royal was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” by BMO Capital Markets, while Genuity Capital Markets raised its price targets for all of Canada’s six big banks. [ID:nSGE63P0Q0] [ID:nWNA9499]

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) hit a 52-week high, ending the session up 0.74 percent at C$65.41.

Overall, the financials group was up 0.11 percent, with its rise kept in check by weakness in Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO), down 0.8 percent at C$31.15, and a small decline by Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), off 0.21 percent at C$76.64.

By contrast, U.S. stocks edged lower on Monday as bank shares fell on fears that financial reforms making their way through Congress will curb profits. [ID:nN2696903] [ID:nN26200389] [ID:nN16148428]

“Canada has been outperforming on strong financials. There are different banks trading year highs. We’re keeping our bid despite the recent selloff in the U.S.,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 41.33 points, or 0.34 percent, at 12,280.97, its highest close since September 2008.

Seven of Toronto’s index’s 10 main groups were higher.

The consumer discretionary sector jumped nearly 1 percent, backed by several stocks that hit new year highs, including Rona Inc RON.TO, Corus Entertainment (CJRb.TO), and Magna International MGa.TO.

Rona soared 3.73 percent to C$16.95 as Genuity upgraded the home improvement retailer to a “buy” rating from “hold.” Magna rose 2.15 percent to C$20.92 as the auto-parts maker won U.S. Volkswagen supply contracts. [RCH/CA] [ID:nN26163918]

The TSX index was forced into negative territory early in the session as Research In Motion RIM.TO took a hit, with investors fearing the BlackBerry maker will lose market share despite its announcement of new product launches.

But by session’s end, RIM rebounded to end up 3.24 percent at C$72.87. A sneak peek at a revamped operating system for its smartphone propelled its shares higher. [ID:nN26178007]

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway

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