TSX up almost 1 percent as Scotiabank shines, energy shares rise

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index rose on Tuesday, led by financial shares after the country’s third largest bank reported a rise in quarterly profit, while domestic data revealed the economy grew more than expected in the fourth quarter.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO jumped 5.8 percent to C$57.93 as the last of Canada's main banks to report quarterly earnings notched a 5 percent increase in net income and raised its dividend.

Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO added 1.6 percent to C$70.14, while Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO was up 1.7 percent at C$53.34. The overall financials group gained 2.2 percent.

“Everyone was predicting doom and gloom for the banks and look at them, four of the five raised dividends,” said Allan Small, a senior investment advisor at HollisWealth.

“Yes, their loan loss provision are higher, but you’ve got to expect that,” he said, noting that he added to positions in financials amid recent stock price weakness.

The energy sector gained 2 percent, in line with a move higher in oil prices. Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO rose 1.6 percent to C$33.62 [O/R]

TransCanada Corp TRP.TO fell 0.8 percent to C$49.27 after Quebec said it was seeking an injunction to compel the company's proposed Energy East oil pipeline to be reviewed under the province's environmental laws.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc MFI.TO jumped more than 8 percent to C$24.65 after the Canadian pork processor beat profit expectations on improved margins in its prepared meats business.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE added 121.75 points, or 0.95 percent, to 12,982.10. Nine of the index's 10 main groups ended higher.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.6 percent, including a 5.2 percent drop in Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO to C$17.82.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO was the biggest drag on the index for a second consecutive day. It said on Monday it is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company’s shares fell 6.9 percent to C$87.94, after hitting its lowest since May 2013 at C$80.38.

The Canadian economy slowed substantially in the final quarter of last year, but the 0.8 percent annualized increase in gross domestic product topped both economists’ and policymakers’ expectations for zero growth.

Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, G Crosse