August 4, 2016 / 9:12 PM / a year ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX up as oil jump boosts energy; Manulife, CP Rail weigh

(Adds strategist comment, updates prices to close)

* TSX ends up 16.73 points, or 0.12 percent, to 14,528.78

* Seven of the TSX’s 10 main groups rise

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index notched a gain on Thursday as surging oil prices boosted energy stocks, while poor earnings hurt insurer Manulife Financial Corp and the exit of a major investor weighed on Canadian Pacific Railway stock.

The energy group, which accounts for almost one-fifth of the index’s weight, rose 1.2 percent as oil prices rose on short-covering and after a modest drop in stockpiles at a U.S. hub.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose 16.73 points, or 0.12 percent, to 14,528.78.

Seven of the index’s 10 main groups ended in positive territory, amid a slew of earnings releases.

“There’s enough good things happening in those individual earnings reports for the analysts to boost their forward earnings estimates,” said John Johnston, chief strategy officer at Davis-Rea.

He said that overall 52-week forward earnings estimates for Canadian stocks had been going up for a few months, which he called a “very constructive sign”.

Earnings beats helped engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc rise 3.1 percent to C$57.62 and retailer Canadian Tire Corp Ltd gain 4.4 percent to C$143.04.

BCE Inc rose 0.9 percent to C$62.39 after Canada’s largest telecommunications company notched strong growth in wireless.

Stock exchange operator TMX Group Ltd rose 3.4 percent to C$60.71 after reporting a more than doubling of second-quarter profit late on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Manulife, Canada’s biggest life insurer, fell 5.4 percent to C$16.95 after its lower profit missed expectations and it warned of an impending charge while keeping its dividend steady.

The heavyweight financials group slipped 0.5 percent, with fellow insurer Great-West Lifeco Inc down 5.9 percent to C$31.77 and Sun Life Financial Inc off 1.9 percent at C$41.96.

Canadian Pacific declined 3.1 percent to C$186.60, after billionaire investor William Ackman’s hedge fund sold its roughly $1.5 billion stake in the railway.

Agrium fell 0.9 percent to C$116.52 after recording a 16 percent profit drop and lowering its profit guidance for the year.

Davis-Rea’s Johnston said that signs of a pickup in global manufacturing bodes well for Canada’s commodity sectors but that U.S. stocks are more attractive than Canadian ones in a range of other promising areas including industrials, consumer discretionary, technology and healthcare. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bernadette Baum and James Dalgleish)

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