CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on bank results, oil prices

Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:10am EST

* TSX rises 0.35 pct to 14,005.36 pts

* CIBC, National Bank results help lead TSX higher

* Energy group adds support as oil gains; Golds weigh (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index climbed on Thursday morning, pushing back above the 14,000-mark on strong quarterly results from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada, while energy shares followed another rise by oil prices.

Both CIBC (CM.TO) and National Bank (NA.TO) reported quarterly results that topped estimates, and encouraged anticipation of dividend increases later this year from Canada's biggest lenders. [ID:n][ID:n]

All major banks rallied well more than 1 percent, helping the financials group gain 1.6 percent. CIBC was up 2.6 percent at C$81.76, while National rose 1.8 percent to C$73.10.

"The banks had a nice runup before the earnings and people thought that they were expensive, but it turns out that they're not so expensive if they're going to deliver these types of earnings," said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

"Banks are trading at a reasonable 10-12 times multiple with potential for significant dividend increases this year."

At 10:40 a.m. (1540 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 49.17 points, or 0.35 percent, at 14,005.36. Eight of the index's 10 main groups were higher.

The violent revolt in Libya and worries over Middle East crude supplies again helped bolster the energy sector as the price of oil surged to multiyear highs. The sector is up more than 8 percent in the past eight sessions.

Among oil and gas gainers were Nexen Inc NXY.TO, ahead 2.1 percent at C$26.12, while Husky Energy (HSE.TO) gained 0.65 percent to C$29.41. Bucking the trend, energy major Suncor (SU.TO) was down 0.4 percent at C$45.91, while Encana (ECA.TO) fell 0.4 percent to C$31.51.

Gold shares, which have risen sharply as a safe-haven play, were key decliners on Thursday as bullion was flat on the day. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) dropped 1.3 percent to C$51.12 while Kinross (K.TO) skidded 1.9 percent to C$15.40.

($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)

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