CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs to near three-year high as Canadian Natural jumps
* TSX rises 42.26 points, or 0.30 percent, to 14,119.73 * Five of 10 main index sectors advance * Canadian Natural up 3.7 percent after acquisition move * Sherritt drops after posting loss, cutting dividend By John Tilak TORONTO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit its highest level in almost three years on Wednesday, ending an 11th straight session higher, as shares of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd jumped after the company said it would acquire some natural gas assets. Devon Energy Corp said it would sell some liquids-rich natural gas assets to Canadian Natural, Canada's No. 1 independent oil producer, for about $2.8 billion, a move that helped lift shares across the energy sector. That offset weak economic data from the United States and minutes from a Federal Reserve meeting that showed policymakers supporting a predictable wind-down of the central bank's asset-purchase program. The Toronto market recorded its 11th straight daily gain, with the rally drawing strength from a rebound in investor sentiment and a pickup in the natural resource sectors. "Sentiment seems to be improving," said Youssef Zohny, a portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners, a multifamily office within Richardson GMP. "I see the Canadian market outperforming the U.S. market (in 2014)." "We're seeing some rotation into resources this year," he added. "A lot of the commodity sectors are doing better than expected." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 42.26 points, or 0.30 percent, at 14,119.73. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Shares of energy companies climbed 1 percent. Canadian Natural's 3.7 percent jump, to C$40.63, was the highlight in the group. Suncor Energy Inc added 1 percent to C$36.98. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, advanced 0.6 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada adding 1.3 percent to C$72.39. But the materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gave back 1.1 percent. Goldcorp Inc dropped 2.8 percent to C$29.50, and Barrick Gold Corp slipped 1.8 percent to C$21.91. In other company news, Sherritt International Corp posted a quarterly loss and slashed its quarterly dividend. The stock shed 12 percent to C$3.02.
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