June 23, 2016 / 9:02 PM / a year ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises to near two-week high on bets Britain stays in EU

3 Min Read

(Adds analyst quote, updates prices)

* TSX closes up 127.64 points, or 0.91 percent, at 14,131.45

* Index touches highest since June 10 at 14,150.40

* Eight of the TSX's 10 main groups end higher

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO, June 23 (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index reached a nearly two-week high on Thursday, led by financial and energy stocks after a series of last-minute opinion polls pointed to Britain staying in the European Union and bookmakers' odds indicated a shift toward the "Remain" camp.

Global equities and oil prices rose with the world watching as Britons voted in a referendum on whether to leave the EU, changing the face of Europe, or to stay.

"Markets are betting the same way the bookies (bookmakers) are," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, who is optimistic that markets will adjust quickly whatever the outcome.

Some of the most influential movers on the index were Canada's heavyweight banks. Royal Bank of Canada climbed 1.6 percent to C$79.69 and Toronto-Dominion Bank advanced 0.9 percent to C$56.66, while the overall financials group rose nearly 1 percent.

Energy stocks rallied 2.9 percent, including a 4.1 percent jump in the shares of Suncor Energy Inc to C$36.20.

U.S. crude prices settled up 98 cents at $50.11 a barrel.

Shares of BlackBerry Ltd rose 3.4 percent to C$8.92. The smartphone industry pioneer broke even in the first quarter, topping expectations, and forecast a smaller-than-expected annual loss, even as its revenue fell sharply.

Planemaker Bombardier Inc said the Canadian province of Quebec agreed to invest $1 billion in its CSeries aircraft program. Its shares rose 1.5 percent to C$1.98.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 127.64 points, or 0.91 percent, at 14,131.45. It touched its highest since June 10 at 14,150.40.

Eight of the index's 10 main industry groups ended higher.

A series of late opinion polls published over the last couple of days favored Britons voting in Thursday's referendum to stay in the European Union, and bookmakers' odds indicated a further shift toward the "Remain" camp, which boosted sterling.

Canadian equity fund managers say they have raised their exposure to domestic stocks over recent months because of improved confidence in the local market, while keeping a close eye on the risk that would be posed by Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, was one of the two sectors that declined. It dipped 0.2 percent as gold stocks retreated.

Goldcorp Inc fell 3.1 percent to C$22.46 as reduced demand for safe-haven assets weighed on gold. Spot gold hit a two-week low, retreating 0.6 percent. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by G Crosse and Sandra Maler)

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