CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as oil rallies; index hits nearly 7-month high
(Adds portfolio manager quotes, updates prices)
* TSX closes up 23.61 points, or 0.17 percent, at 13,917.10
* Three of TSX's 10 main groups end higher
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, May 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock touched a nearly seven-month high on Tuesday as higher commodity prices supported energy and mining stocks, but some gains for the index were pared as financial and consumer stocks fell.
The energy group rallied nearly 1 percent, although some companies are facing renewed disruption to operations from a massive wildfire around Alberta's Fort McMurray oil sands hub.
"The general balance in the oil market ... is healthier for these companies than the negative impact of what's happening in Fort McMurray," said Diana Avigdor, head of trading at Barometer Capital Management.
Oil prices rose for a second straight day, with U.S. futures hitting seven-month highs above $48 a barrel, on expectations of a drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles and a new wildfire threat on Canadian oil supplies.
"We keep expanding our energy exposure," said Avigdor, who added that U.S. investors have been active buying energy stocks and that strengthening in the Canadian dollar has added to the attractiveness of the sector for those investors. Continued...