CANADA STOCKS-U.S. data sparks TSX climb but oil shares stay weak

Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:23pm EST
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* TSX up 52.17 points, or 0.38 percent, at 13,905.12

* Eight of 10 main index sectors advance

* Index down nearly 6 percent this month

By John Tilak

TORONTO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced in choppy trading on Thursday as robust U.S. economic data boosted sentiment even as weak crude prices continued to undermine oil and gas shares.

Most of the market's major sectors rose after figures in the United States showed higher consumer spending in November, helped by lower gasoline prices.

Oil and gas shares stayed weak, however. They have been a major factor in the Toronto stock market's recent retreat, including the benchmark index's 2.4 percent drop on Wednesday. Oil and gas shares have fallen about 43 percent since mid June.

U.S. crude oil prices remained volatile, dropping sharply to below $60 after trading higher early in the session. They have been hit by concerns that supplies of the commodity are increasingly outweighing demand.

Despite Thursday's gain, the benchmark TSX index is down nearly 6 percent so far this month.   Continued...