May 26, 2009 / 8:54 PM / in 9 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX rallies on financials, U.S. data

* TSX up 2.15 percent at 10,285.90

* Index logs highest close since early October

* BMO results top estimates; financials up 4.6 pct

* U.S. consumer confidence boosts market sentiment (Adds details, quotes)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, May 26 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose sharply on Tuesday, gaining for the third straight session, as the financials sector surged on Bank of Montreal’s BMO.TO earnings and rosy U.S. economic data.

The rally by financial issues and data showing U.S. consumer confidence soared in May to its highest level in eight months, overcame early weakness in resources that had pushed the TSX lower at the open.

“U.S. confidence numbers came out really, really strong. This kind of validated what people were feeling, which was ‘Hey, maybe things aren’t so bad now’,” said Rick Meslin, head of Canadian equities at UBS.

The buoyant mood, coupled with earnings from Bank of Montreal that topped expectations [ID:nN26473895] helped send the financials sector up 4.6 percent.

BMO rose 5.2 percent to C$43.71, while other financial issues climbed on expectations they too would notch healthy profits.

Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO climbed 5.6 percent to C$45.05, while Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO added 5.5 percent to C$38.81. Insurer Manulife Financial MFC.TO rose 4.6 percent to C$23.12.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 216.40 points, or 2.15 percent, at 10,285.90, its highest close since early October. Eight of the 10 main groups were higher. The materials sector slipped 0.05 percent and utilities fell 0.6 percent.

$1=$1.12 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson

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