CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends higher as financials gain on defensive buying

Fri Jul 3, 2015 4:54pm EDT
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* TSX index up 44.40 points, or 0.3 percent, at 14,682.39

* Energy shares drop on lower oil prices

By Leah Schnurr

OTTAWA, July 3 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday, recording its third straight daily gain, as strength in financials as defensive plays as the Greek crisis rages helped overcome a decline in oil and gas shares.

Volume was muted through the session due to the U.S. Independence Day holiday, and investors were also wary of making aggressive bets heading into Sunday's Greek referendum on the country's bailout terms with lenders.

An opinion poll showed supporters of the terms have taken a slim lead.

Talks between Greece and international lenders collapsed last weekend, causing Greece to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund earlier this week. The fallout from the referendum could determine whether the country remains in the euro zone.

"There is some edginess in the market," said Thane Stenner, portfolio manager at wealth management firm StennerZohny Investment Partners+, a unit of Richardson GMP.

"It's a coin toss-up as to how the Greeks are going to vote," he added. "We're expecting next week to open up with more volatility."   Continued...