CANADA STOCKS-Energy, financial sectors drive TSX higher

Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:33pm EDT
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* TSX up 124.05 points, or 0.83 percent, at 15,081.26

* Nine of 10 main index sectors advance

By John Tilak

TORONTO, March 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose for a third straight session on Tuesday, driven by gains in shares of energy producers and financial companies despite sluggish economic data from China.

A private survey showed that China's factory sector activity fell to its lowest level in 11 months in March, raising concerns about growth in the world's second-biggest economy and increasing hopes that the government might provide more stimulus.

Energy shares shrugged off weakness in the price of oil, which was hit by a rebound in the U.S. dollar. The TSX is up about 3 percent so far this year.

"It's quite likely that value investors are getting into the market as the TSX has underperformed the U.S. stock market for quite a while," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

He expects the Canadian market to record a drop between now and the end of the year.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 124.05 points, or 0.83 percent, at 15,081.26. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, rose 0.5 percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 0.4 percent to C$77.02, and Toronto Dominion Bank was up 0.6 percent at C$54.45.

Shares of energy producers climbed 1.2 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd jumped 1.6 percent to C$37.93, and Suncor Energy Inc gained 0.6 percent to C$35.97. (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Leslie Adler)