3 Min Read
* TSX gains 0.12 percent to 14,140.01
* Bombardier jumps 8 pct on Warren Buffett deal
* Five TSX sectors advance (Adds details, updates to midday)
By Ka Yan Ng and Solarina Ho
TORONTO, March 2 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was moderately higher at midday on Wednesday thanks to strength in energy issues and a boost from plane maker Bombardier.
The industrials group was up almost 1 percent after Bombardier (BBDb.TO) reached a deal for as many as 120 aircraft with Warren Buffett's NetJets Inc. The deal could earn it more than $6.7 billion.
Bombardier was the top blue-chip gainer, up more than 8 percent at C$6.64. [ID:nN02187860] [ID:nL3E7E20EN]
"His name associated with any company tends to get a lift. But when he puts his money putting in an order, it helps even more," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
"It's the right time of the cycle to own stocks like that, meaning the jet market is coming back. We were in a financial crisis two years ago and obviously we've come back pretty strongly."
At 12:00 (1700 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 17.16 points, or 0.12 percent, at 14,140.01, after spending much of the morning in negative territory.
Five of the TSX's 10 main sectors were higher, including the heavily weighted financials, energy and materials groups.
Other blue-chip gainers included Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), up 0.95 percent at C$80.69, while Royal Bank of Canada advanced 0.6 percent to C$56.90.
Worries about turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East, and concerns over the economic impact of high oil prices, weighed on investor sentiment earlier in the session.
Crude oil climbed on warnings by Libya that prices would rise and as government forces fought rebels. U.S. crude hit more than $100 while Brent reached close to two-and-a-half year highs, hitting above $115. [O/R][ID:nSGE72103H]
The strong oil prices boosted the TSX's hefty energy group, up 0.4 percent. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gained 1.4 percent to C$49.60, while Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) was up nearly 1 percent at C$50.99.
"The things which were making people nervous yesterday are still there," said Gavin Graham, president of Graham Investment Strategy. "If you're going to have stronger oil prices, causing a slowdown in economic growth, that's not good news."
($1=$0.97 Canadian) (Editing by Rob Wilson)