CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises in first trading day of 2015

Fri Jan 2, 2015 11:14am EST
 
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO Jan 2 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday, boosted by modest gains in materials stocks in the first session of 2015 even as crude oil prices continued to slide.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metal miners, rose while financial and energy stocks slipped. Oil, which has weighed on the resource-heavy index for months, fell further on continuing concerns about a supply glut.

With only one trading day between New Year's Day and the weekend, Bill Harris, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management, said volume would likely be low and spreads wide.

Harris said investors who sold out of hard-hit sectors like energy or dropped exposure to Canada in general at the end of 2014 may now start to look for deals, especially into next week.

"An awful lot of people were underweight in Canada and just said 'get me out'," he said. "They will come into the office and say 'well, do I like that company or not? Was Canada a zero investment, or are there things that I should pick away at?'"

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 33.05 points, or 0.23 percent, at 14,665.49.

Gold miners rose as spot gold prices reversed losses. Goldcorp Inc led the sector, rising 1.8 percent to C$21.90, and overall gold stocks rose 2.3 percent, while the materials sector was 1.4 percent higher.

Financial stocks fell 0.3 percent, but the biggest banks were mostly flat. Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.04 percent at C$80.27.

Energy stocks also slipped 0.3 percent, but some major companies were higher. TransCanada Corp rose 1.2 percent to C$57.74, while Enbridge rose 0.7 percent to C$60.12. (Editing by James Dalgleish)