January 15, 2014 / 1:27 PM / 4 years ago

TSX hits 2-1/2 year high as global growth picture brightens

A general view of the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008.Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index climbed on Wednesday to its highest in 2-1/2 years as the World Bank's bullish forecast for global economic growth helped fuel broad gains and higher oil prices provided support to energy shares.

The World Bank raised its forecast for global growth for the first time in three years as advanced economies started to pick up pace, led by the United States.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index has gained in six of the last seven sessions, with its resource sectors, which had a lackluster 2013, beginning to gather steam.

"The market reaction was to be expected. It is very much keeping with the thesis that strong global growth benefits the TSX," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"People are definitely turning more positive about the commodity groups," he added. "I believe that the TSX may actually outperform the S&P 500 this year."

In 2013, the TSX's growth trailed the S&P 500's .SPX performance.

On Wednesday, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 80.20 points, or 0.59 percent, at 13,772.58, after touching 13,785.02, its strongest level since mid-2011.

Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, rose 0.6 percent. Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) climbed 1.8 percent to C$21.96, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) added 0.2 percent to C$71.06.

Higher oil prices supported gains in the energy sector, with Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) advancing 0.3 percent to C$37.35.

The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gained 1.7 percent. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) rose 1.5 percent to C$19.78.

Osisko Mining Corp (OSK.TO) said it was considering Goldcorp Inc's (G.TO) unsolicited C$2.6 billion ($2.4 billion) takeover proposal but viewed the 15 percent premium offered as "very low". Osisko shares added 0.3 percent to C$6.25, but Goldcorp shares slipped 0.3 percent to C$24.28.

Magna International Inc (MG.TO) forecast 2014 sales below analysts' expectations due to lower revenue in its complete vehicle-assembly business. Shares in the auto parts maker were nevertheless up 1.1 percent at C$93.12.

($1=$1.09 Canadian)

Editing by Peter Galloway and Nick Zieminski

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