CANADA STOCKS-TSX kicks off 2015 with gains, boosted by resource shares

Fri Jan 2, 2015 4:55pm EST
 
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO Jan 2 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday, lifted by energy and mining stocks, which were up even though oil and copper prices fell in the first trading session of the year.

Oil, which has been weighed down by concerns about a supply glut and weakening demand, dropped in thin, volatile trading, and copper slid to its lowest point in more than four years. Spot gold rose, however.

Sid Mokhtari, market technician and director of institutional equity research at CIBC World Markets, said fund managers were likely looking for bargains in the hard-hit resource sectors after last month's tax-loss selling.

"It's a strategy that a lot of folks have become more comfortable with," he said. "You go into year-end holding stocks that are very strong, and as you come into the new year you want to reposition for some of those very deep oversold conditions."

Even so, Mokhtari said gold shares, which make up the largest part of of Canada's mining stocks, may be too volatile for many investors' tastes.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 121.21 points, or 0.83 percent, at 14,753.65.

The energy sector rose 1.6 percent, while materials jumped 2.9 percent, boosted by a 3.9 percent rise in gold stocks. Suncor Energy Inc led the energy sector, rising 1.2 percent to C$37.35.

Mid-sized gold miner Agnico Eagle Mines jumped 9.7 percent to C$31.72, while major producer Goldcorp Inc rose 3.0 percent to C$22.16.

Financial stocks were flat overall, slipping 0.01 percent, but some of the biggest Canadian banks made modest gains. Royal Bank of Canada closed up 0.6 percent at C$80.70, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce rose 0.5 percent to C$100.36.

($1=$1.18 Canadian) (Editing by James Dalgleish; and Peter Galloway)