CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises to highest close since September 2014

Wed Jan 4, 2017 4:46pm EST
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(Adds portfolio manager quotes, background, details; updates prices)

* TSX closes up 113.72 points, or 0.74 percent, at 15,516.75

* Index posts highest close since September 2014

* Eight of the TSX's 10 main groups end higher

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Wednesday to its highest close since September 2014, when it reached a record high, as investors bet that the rally in oil prices will lead to better growth in corporate earnings.

It was the second straight day of gains for the index after it surged 17.5 percent in 2016.

The market is pricing in better earnings growth for the first quarter following the rebound in crude oil from its February 2016 trough, said Kevin Headland, senior investment strategist at Manulife Investments. "Canadian earnings typically are highly correlated with energy on a year-over-year basis," he said.

U.S. crude oil prices settled 93 cents higher at $53.26 a barrel on expectations that U.S. crude inventories have dropped and on signs that the world's top oil exporters will stick to agreed output cuts that took effect this week.   Continued...