CANADA STOCKS-Energy powers TSX to biggest weekly gain since 2011

Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:45pm EST
 
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TORONTO Dec 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose for a fourth straight session on Friday and posted its biggest weekly gain in three years, powered by a rally in energy stocks as the price of oil extended its rebound from multiyear lows.

Oil prices jumped more than 5 percent on Friday for the second time in a week as short-covering alleviated pressure in a market dominated by sellers for the past six months, and lighter-than-usual pre-holiday volume exaggerated oil's move higher.

That helped lift shares of energy-related companies such as Canadian Natural Resources, which rose 4.7 percent to C$36.63, and Enbridge Inc, up 2.6 percent at C$57.55.

"It's been a stunning week. I can't remember the last time when we had a week that had such strong momentum on the upside," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"We're seeing a lot of money coming into the beaten down energy sector. Again the question is whether this whole thing is going to last. Certainly crude oil seems to be in for a period of volatility over the next few months."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 121.51 points, or 0.85 percent, at 14,468.26.

It was up nearly 5.4 percent on the week, the biggest five-day gain since late 2011.

"This may be the start of the end-of-year rally that we were expecting a little bit earlier in the month," said Bryden Teich, an associate at Avenue Investment Management.

The rally in energy shares offset a modest drag from BlackBerry Ltd after the smartphone maker released quarterly results. Its shares fell 1 percent to C$11.55 after it reported a bigger-than-expected revenue drop.

($1=$1.16 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho, Alastair Sharp and Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Peter Galloway)