Tuesday, March 21

Toronto index rises on upbeat bank earnings

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Canada’s main stock index rose on Friday, tracking global markets, and boosted by encouraging corporate earnings from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada.

At 9:38 am ET (1438 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 80.79 points, or 0.39%, at 20,842.72, with financials leading gains.

The financials sector gained 1%, led by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and National Bank of Canada , which rose 3.7% and 1.3%, respectively, after both lenders comfortably beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly earnings.

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“Its a good day for National bank, and CIBC also had decent numbers. It should help the banks which had sold off a fair bit yesterday,” said Gregory Taylor, portfolio manager at Purpose Investments.

“It feels like the markets starting to turn away from the Ukraine crisis towards the Fed again, which perhaps can be the big story as we move into the next week.”

Markets participants are keeping a close eye on economic data, with New York Fed Bank President John Williams saying earlier in the month it would be appropriate to hike interest rates in March.

European stocks rose on Friday after Wall Street’s late rally, as investors welcomed coordinated Western sanctions on Russia that targeted its banks but not did not block it from a global payments system and left its energy sector largely untouched.

The TSX was on course to end the week with losses of nearly 1%, as geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine have rolled markets over the week.

The energy sector gained 0.1%, despite lower crude prices.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.5% as gold futures fell 1.6% to $1,895 an ounce.

On the economic front, domestic wholesale trade was most up 3.9% in January from December, Statistics Canada said. (Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)