CANADA STOCKS-TSX nears six-year high as energy shares rally
* TSX up 51.73 points, or 0.35 percent, at 14,961.36 * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance * Talisman climbs after move to sell Asian assets By John Tilak TORONTO, June 13 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index climbed to its highest in almost six years on Friday as worries triggered by the increasing tension in Iraq fueled higher oil prices, boosting shares in the energy sector. Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric urged his followers on Friday to take up arms to defend themselves against a relentless advance by Sunni militants, in a sharp escalation of a conflict that is threatening civil war and the potential break-up of the country. The Toronto stock market's benchmark index, which has advanced in 10 of the past 11 sessions, is up nearly 10 percent this year. The energy sector has been a driving force behind those gains. "This is going to be another outstanding quarter for companies in the oil patch," said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management, who expects the higher oil prices to lift the profits of energy producers. The TSX is likely to outperform the U.S. stock market this year, he added. "Our market is reasonably priced, with the exception of the energy sector, which still has some way to go." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 51.73 points, or 0.35 percent, at 14,961.36. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. The index rose as high as 14,984.96, its highest level since June 19, 2008. Shares of energy producers gained 1.4 percent. Suncor Energy Inc jumped 1.7 percent to C$46.23, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd climbed 1.5 percent to C$47.76. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.6 percent at C$75.10, and Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.2 percent to C$70.56. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slipped 0.4 percent, with Goldcorp Inc giving back 0.7 percent to C$27. In corporate news, sources told Reuters that Talisman Energy Inc was reviewing its Asian oil and gas portfolio, valued at about $4 billion, which could lead to a partial or full sale. The stock advanced 2 percent to C$11.48. ($1=$1.09 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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