May 2, 2014 / 11:54 AM / 4 years ago

Resources lift TSX to near six-year high

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index climbed to its highest in almost six years on Friday after higher commodity prices drove strong advances in natural resource shares, offsetting mixed U.S. jobs data.

A Bay Street sign is seen in the heart of the financial district in Toronto, August 17, 2009. Toronto's main stock market index dove on Monday morning as commodity-linked stocks sank with oil and metals prices on worries over the pace of economic recovery. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

A flurry of acquisition deals and earnings reports also provided support. Shares of engineering and construction company

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO) jumped 5.1 percent to C$52.14 after SNC said it will sell its AltaLink transmission system to Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s (BRKa.N) energy unit for about $2.9 billion.

While figures on Friday showed U.S. job growth increased at its fastest rate in more than two years in April, a sharp increase in the number of people dropping out of the labor force raised some concerns with investors.

On the Canadian benchmark index, gold-mining shares jumped 2.3 percent and the energy sector added nearly 1 percent, buoyed by gains in bullion and oil prices.

“Overall the commodity complex seems to be providing a nice lift for the Canadian market,” said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners, a subsidiary of Richardson GMP.

“Commodities seem to be gathering some momentum,” he said, adding that other sectors of the benchmark index such as financials and technology could also drive short-term returns.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 101.08 points, or 0.69 percent, at 14,765.15. It recorded its third straight weekly gain, climbing 1.6 percent. It is up about 8.4 percent this year.

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

Among energy stocks, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) added 0.5 percent to C$44.98, and Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) advanced 1.6 percent to C$43.22.

A 2.4 percent jump in shares of Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) helped support the gold-mining sector.

TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) reported a 14 percent rise in adjusted quarterly profit as a severe winter boosted demand on its pipelines. The stock was little changed.

Westport Innovations Inc WPT.TO shot up 24.3 percent to C$17.64 after the company reported quarterly results. The stock was the biggest percentage gainer on the index.

News Corp (NWSA.O) said it would buy romance novel publisher Harlequin Enterprises Ltd from newspaper publisher Torstar Corp (TSb.TO) to boost its nonEnglish book publishing. Torstar’s shares jumped 22 percent to C$8.15.

Editing by Peter Galloway

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