TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Wednesday as higher oil prices helped boost shares of energy producers and positive sentiment prevailed after several days of choppy trading.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index, which gained 9.6 percent last year, has shed more than 400 points in the last two weeks.
The market shrugged off data released by payrolls processor ADP showing that hiring by U.S. private employers in January was the weakest since August, with cold weather having an impact.
While worries about growth and stability in emerging markets, including concerns about the Chinese economy, stayed on the menu, investors started to brace themselves for the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday.
"The market will be moving from those (emerging-market) concerns to new concerns," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung Investment Management. "People are anxiously awaiting the employment numbers on Friday.
"We shouldn't be surprised if there are more setbacks here," he added. "This is going to be a much more volatile year than last year."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 55.21 points, or 0.41 percent, at 13,559.69.
Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Wednesday.
Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, climbed 1 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country's biggest lender, advanced 1.5 percent to C$69.08 and had the biggest positive influence on the market.
In corporate news, TMX Group Ltd (X.TO), owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange, reported a fourth-quarter profit that topped market expectations. Its shares slipped 1 percent to C$9.37.
Intact Financial Corp (IFC.TO) reported a larger-than-expected drop in fourth-quarter profit as a winter ice storm hurt underwriting results. The stock was down 1.1 percent at C$66.75.
Editing by Peter Galloway and Chris Reese