CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs as Fed reassures markets
* TSX rises 55.21 points, or 0.39 percent, to 14,315.93 * Nine of the 10 main index sectors advance * Index on track for ninth straight monthly gain * Encana slips after news of asset sale * Martinrea jumps after saying CEO to leave By John Tilak TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Monday as the Federal Reserve's reassurance of its support for the U.S. economy built investor confidence and helped push up the market's financial and energy sectors. Investors were also encouraged by data showing the Canadian economy rebounded more strongly than expected in January from a decline in December. The Toronto stock market's benchmark index was on track to record its ninth straight monthly gain. It has advanced about 5 percent this quarter, making it one of the strongest performers among major global indexes. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said measures by the U.S. central bank to boost the economy will be necessary for some time to come. "We've got a steady hand on the wheel," said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management. Yellen "will try to set policy so interest rates will drift upwards very gradually," he added. "I see sideways movement for the U.S. market and more upward potential for Canadian markets," said Cockfield, who expects the TSX to outperform the S&P 500 index this year. "I can't see things taking off like a rocket, but I can see steady progress." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 55.21 points, or 0.39 percent, at 14,315.93. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, climbed 0.7 percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 0.7 percent to C$72.94, and Bank of Nova Scotia advanced 0.9 percent to C$64.19. Shares of energy producers shrugged off declines in the price of oil. Suncor Energy Inc was up 0.8 percent at C$38.50. In corporate news, Encana Corp said it would sell some natural gas assets in Wyoming's Jonah field to a TPG Capital affiliate for about $1.8 billion. Encana shares slipped 0.5 percent to C$23.59. Martinrea International Inc jumped 14.1 percent to C$10.01 after the auto parts maker said that Nick Orlando will step down as the company's president and chief executive officer. ($1=$1.10 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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