TSX advances as Valeant climbs, offsets weaker oil shares

Mon Mar 2, 2015 4:50pm EST
 
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Monday as a jump in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO: Quote) helped offset weakness in the energy sector after the price of Brent crude oil dropped.

Brent crude slipped after Iran said a deal on its nuclear program could be done this week if the West lifts sanctions, which could boost the country's oil exports. [O/R]

Valeant shares jumped 3.5 percent to C$254.95 after recent acquisition moves, helping to fuel an advance in the index's healthcare sector.

Trading in the benchmark TSX index has been choppy in recent months because of fluctuations in the price of oil. It is up about 4 percent since the start of the year.

"Oil has been bouncing around a lot. That seems to be impacting the energy group, but not so much the rest of the index," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"There's so much uncertainty surrounding the Canadian market, whether it's the housing sector or the impact crude oil will have on the economy," he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 29.71 points, or 0.2 percent, at 15,264.05. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Shares of energy producers were down 0.8 percent. Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) declined 0.5 percent to C$37.08, and Encana Corp ECA.TO lost 2.1 percent to C$15.95.   Continued...

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