CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends higher as energy stocks buck oil price fall

Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:36pm EST
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(Adds investor comment, updates prices to close)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO Dec 18 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Thursday, with energy stocks bucking weak oil prices as investors returned to riskier assets after an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy by the Federal Reserve.

Trading was volatile, however, with the index at one point turning negative after rising as much as 1.6 percent and telecom stocks exerting downward pressure.

"We're getting volatility from two fronts, from everything energy-related and from fixed income," said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer for BMO Asset Management.

The Fed's promise to take a "patient" approach to hiking interest rates, while adding a note of clarity on when it might raise rates, was seen as broadly positive for equities.

Meanwhile crude prices resumed their slide after a short-covering rally on Wednesday, but Canada's energy sector did not follow suit after weeks of downward pressure.

"On the energy side, for those who are not faint of heart, there are some real opportunities if your time horizon extends beyond the next six to twelve months," Taylor said.

He said oil could fall into the $35-$40 a barrel range in the near term, but should recover to $75-$95 range a year out.   Continued...