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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index climbed on Friday, hitting its highest level since early April and racking up its second straight weekly gain after solid North American earnings offset disappointing U.S. economic data.
The index was up for the third straight day, helped by all three powerhouse sectors - materials, energy and financials.
Energy shares, up 1 percent, led the gainers ahead of some big earnings in the group next week. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), up 2.1 percent to C$33.31, was the most influential advancer. The oil and natural gas producer reports on Thursday.
"This may reflect some sort of positioning by investors ahead of those earnings," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice-president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
"The energy group has underperformed quite badly, it's underperformed the TSX over the past three months so there may be some optimism that the numbers may come in better than current estimates."
Gold miner Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) was also a key name on the upside, soaring nearly 10 percent to C$38.66 after reporting a 73 percent increase in its quarterly profit late on Thursday, driven largely by gains in the price of bullion.
"The golds are a little bit better ... Agnico Eagle had pretty good numbers. Goldcorp numbers yesterday were a little weak but I think there's some bottom fishing coming into these names here," said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities.
Goldcorp (G.TO) was up 0.9 percent at C$38.38.
"Whether you're a producer or a developer or an explorer, they've all been pretty weak the last few weeks, so they're trying to find a bottom and it looks like some money is coming into them," added Latimer.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 91.90 points, or 0.76 percent, at 12,237.75, after touching its strongest level since April 4.
The index finished the week 0.7 percent firmer, its second consecutive weekly gain after a seven-week string of losses.
"We're on the cusp of the typical "sell in May and go away" season, but I think if you look at the earnings on both sides of the border there is some optimism that this season may not be as disastrous as the last one," added Picardo.
Wall Street also rallied as stronger-than-expected earnings from Amazon (AMZN.O) and Expedia (EXPE.O) reinforced confidence in corporate strength, offsetting the negative impact of weaker-than-expected U.S. growth data and a downgrade of Spain's sovereign debt. <.
Among the heaviest laggards, Potash Corp (POT.TO) fell almost 1 percent to C$41.85 and Petrominerales PMG.TO plunged nearly 18 percent to C$14.09 after some analysts cut their price targets on the names.
In other company news, TMX Group (X.TO) jumped 4.6 percent to C$44.70 after a consortium bidding for Canada's biggest stock exchange operators said it aims to extend its $3.8 billion offer.
Imax Corp IMX.TO dropped 1 percent to C$23.98 after the giant movie screen maker's quarterly net profit missed estimates.
Canadian Utilities (CU.TO) rose 1.6 percent to C$69.65 and its parent Atco Ltd (ACOx.TO) advanced 2 percent to C$73.82 after reporting higher quarterly profits as they linked industrial customers in northern Alberta to the province's electricity transmission grid.
Reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Padraic Cassidy and Andrew Hay