* TSX up 25.82 pts, or 0.22 percent, at 11,543.90
* Bank of Montreal earnings help lift financials
* Three of 10 TSX sectors rise (Updates to close, adds quotes)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, May 26 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended slightly higher on Wednesday thanks to strength in energy shares and healthy earnings at Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO).
Bank of Montreal’s forecast-topping results kicked off the quarterly earnings season for Canadian banks, and its stock rose 2.6 percent to C$60.26.
“We’ve seen some good earnings from BMO, which pretty much helped the whole financial sector,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.
Smaller Laurentian Bank of Canada (LB.TO) reported a 34 percent jump in profit, in line with expectations, as higher revenues offset a rise in loan losses.
However, shares in Laurentian ended the day down 0.6 percent at C$42.81.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the day up 25.82 points, or 0.22 percent, at 11,543.90, though off its session high of 11,723.88. Three of the index’s 10 main groups were higher.
“Major indices across the board have sort of had a dead-cat bounce or have seen some oversold territories. They’re coming back in line,” said Campeau, who added that short-covering likely helped the index end higher.
The TSX lost steam late in the session and briefly stepped into negative territory before quickly bouncing back to end the day higher.
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the market,” said Jennifer Radman, vice president and associate portfolio manager at Caldwell Investment Ltd, but stressed the fundamentals of the market are strong.
Radman said much of the uncertainty stems from persistent worries that the euro zone debt crisis will spread and hamper economic growth in Europe and globally. [MKTS/GLOB] [FRX/]
Still, some commodity-related issues pushed higher on prospects for rising demand. Oil climbed above $71 a barrel, helping to lift the energy sector up by 0.7 percent.[O/R]
Utilities was the third TSX group to end higher, gaining 0.5 percent.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 0.17 points lower, or 0.02 percent, at 679.85.
$1=$1.07 Canadian Editing by Rob Wilson