April 29, 2015 / 9:16 PM / 2 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX just squeezes higher as oil shares rise

3 Min Read

(Adds portfolio manager's comment, updates prices to close)

* TSX rises 1.27 points, or 0.01 percent, to 15,347.34

* Six of the index's 10 main groups fall

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, April 29 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged higher for a second straight day on Wednesday as crude oil hit a 2015 high and lifted energy stocks, while a U.S. Federal Reserve statement clouded the U.S. economic outlook.

The Fed downgraded its view of the labor market and economy in Canada's largest trading partner, leaving some investors to wonder what factors could coax the Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX composite index higher.

"Leaving oil aside, I don't know what else can rescue the TSX, that's my problem," said Keith Richards, a portfolio manager and technical analyst at ValueTrend Wealth Management in Barrie, Ontario. "I'm wait and see on oil, and that's why I'm wait and see on Toronto."

Mixed earnings reports also buffeted the market.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc's shares jumped 3.7 percent to C$256.30 on a stronger sales outlook, while disappointing earnings from business software company OpenText Corp pushed its stock down 6.3 percent to C$62.46.

Crude prices hit their highest level this year, and were on track for a more than 20 percent gain in April as U.S. data suggested a U.S. supply glut may be starting to ease.

The index's energy group gained 0.9 percent, led by Canadian Oil Sands Ltd's 3.6 percent rise to C$12.66, and Suncor Energy Inc's 0.4 percent increase to C$39.88. Crescent Point Energy Corp added 1.5 percent to C$31.96.

At the other end of the group, top decliners included two pipeline companies: Enbridge Inc fell 1.3 percent to C$63.95, and TransCanada Corp slid 1.8 percent to C$56.04.

The benchmark index unofficially ended up 1.27 points, or 0.01 percent, at 15,347.34. Six of its 10 main sectors fell, and there were just as many declining stocks as advancers.

The materials group gained 0.5 percent, helped by advances by gold miners. Goldcorp Inc climbed 1.5 percent to C$24.21 and Barrick Gold Corp gained 1.4 percent to C$16.22.

"Gold stocks have really been trashed. The commodity seems to have bounced around a little bit. But ... maybe it's settled down and maybe the stocks will take hope from that," said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities, adding that gold miners' quarterly results so far have been reasonably good.

$1=$1.20 Canadian Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Galloway

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