Energy shares power TSX, but weekly gain slips away

Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:58pm EDT
 
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended higher on Friday on the back of surging energy stocks and a slight gain in financials, but the market just missed notching its fourth-straight weekly gain due to steep losses earlier in the week.

The upward momentum was largely due to the 1.09 percent rise in the energy subgroup, which benefited from a slight rise in oil and natural gas prices and touched its highest level since early November. Analysts said the group is showing signs of breaking out of the range it has been stuck in.

"There was some worry about some of the big producers, but now it appears they're paring back some of their large-scale programs, so their stocks are starting to look a little more interesting, and that's given some impetus to the market," said John Ing, president of Toronto-based Maison Placements.

Penn West Petroleum (PWT.TO: Quote) was among the group's leaders, rising 5.2 percent to C$11.89, while larger player EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) climbed 1.5 percent to C$20.73.

All told, five of the TSX's 10 subgroups ended the session higher, including the heavily weighted financials sector, which notched a 0.13 percent rise.

Power Financial Corp PWF.TO climbed 1.2 percent to C$30.19, rebounding from losses earlier in the week, when the holding company reported a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit. Toronto Stock Exchange owner TMX Group Ltd (X.TO: Quote) gained 2.5 percent to C$56.75.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session up 30.12 points, or 0.24 percent, at 12,830.03.

Friday's gain reversed the TSX's recent trend of underperformance versus comparable U.S. indexes as both the U.S. S&P 500 index .SPX and the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI took losses on the day.   Continued...

 
People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch