TSX rises to near six-month high as oil rallies

Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:06pm EDT
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By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Wednesday to a near six-month high, led by financial sector and energy stocks after oil turned higher.

The index has rallied more than 20 percent since hitting a near 3-1/2-year low in January, a threshold considered by some as indicative of a bull market. However, its September 2014 peak at 15,685.13 remains well out of view.

"When oil is stronger, foreign investors consider increasing their weight in Canada, so they are not only buying energy stocks they are buying the whole market," said Steve Belisle, portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

The heavyweight financial services group rose 0.9 percent. It included a 1.4 percent advance in the shares of Bank of Nova Scotia to C$65.23, while Manulife Financial Corp was up 2.8 percent at C$19.13.

The energy group rose 0.3 percent, led by a 3.3 percent gain for Cenovus Energy Inc to C$18.56.

Oil turned higher after a smaller-than-expected build in U.S. crude inventories and as oil bulls bet that major crude producers would meet again to try to curtail output.

U.S. crude prices settled at $42.63 a barrel, up 3.77 percent.

Earnings season on Wall Street has added to positive sentiment as companies beat lowered expectations, said Belisle.   Continued...

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch