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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Wednesday as market-supportive comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen helped fuel gains in energy and financial shares.
Yellen said the central bank will continue to provide a high degree of monetary policy accommodation, while citing geopolitical turmoil and weak housing data as risks to the U.S. economy.
Encana Corp (ECA.TO) gained 4.6 percent to C$25.69 after the company said it is buying producing assets in the Eagle Ford shale field in Texas from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX.N) for $3.1 billion, nearly doubling its oil output.
Investors also digested a wave of quarterly reports, including several from energy companies. Shares of Talisman Energy Inc TLM.TO, Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO) and Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) all advanced after they posted profits.
The Canadian benchmark index is up about 7.6 percent this year. The market ended higher after volatile trading, following declines in the previous two sessions.
"This is a movie that we've seen before," said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management. "It has got a dual plot. The playbook is optimistic one day and pessimistic the next day."
"We accept that it will be slow, wobbly growth and wrapped up in some turmoil and uncertainty," he said, adding that investors should counter increasing market volatility with diversification.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 44.11 points, or 0.30 percent, at 14,656.40.
Mastracci expects the TSX to be driven this year primarily by economic growth in the United States, Canada's biggest trade partner.
Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Wednesday.
Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.4 percent, with Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) rising 1.1 percent to C$20.59.
The energy sector advanced 0.7 percent, with oil prices also providing support.
Talisman shot up 8 percent to C$12.02 after the company posted a first-quarter profit, compared with a year-earlier loss, as oil and natural gas liquids production in North America soared 45 percent. The stock had the biggest positive influence on the market.
Husky reported a bigger-than-expected 24 percent rise in first-quarter profit, helped by stronger prices for crude oil, natural gas liquids and bitumen. The stock added 1.9 percent to C$36.15.
Enbridge reported a 56 percent rise in quarterly profit, sending shares of the pipeline company up 0.6 percent to C$53.31.
But Tim Hortons Inc THI.TO gave back 1.3 percent to C$58.89 after the coffee and snacks chain reported results that fell short of market expectations.
Editing by Peter Galloway and Chris Reese