TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose slightly on Tuesday as strength in the financial sector helped overcome worries about the volatile situation in Iraq and nervousness about the outcome of this week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting.
Investors digested news that Iraqi Shi’ite rulers spurned Western calls to reach out to Sunnis to defuse the uprising in the north of the country and weighed the prospect of a disruption in oil supply.
The market also speculated on whether the Fed, whose two-day meeting will close on Wednesday, will accelerate the pace of withdrawal from its stimulus program and when the U.S. central bank might increase interest rates.
“Investors are preoccupied with what the Fed is going to say tomorrow,” said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management.
“I’m not expecting a surprise of any sort. I would expect Yellen not to rock the boat,” he added, referring to Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
The Canadian market has climbed 12 of the last 13 sessions. It is up more than 10 percent this year and has gained more than most other major stock indexes.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 15.46 points, or 0.10 percent, at 15,055.89. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, climbed 0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO added 0.1 percent to C$75.18, and Toronto Dominion Bank TD.TO advanced 0.5 percent to C$54.59.
Shares of energy producers gave back 0.6 percent, reflecting weakness in the price of U.S. crude oil CLc1. Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO lost 0.9 percent to C$46.32, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO slipped 0.7 percent to C$47.35.
In corporate news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc VRX.TO said it will launch an exchange offer for Allergan Inc AGN.N this week, allowing it to eventually take its unsolicited bid directly to shareholders. Valeant’s stock was up 1.2 percent, at C$129.10.
Editing by Leslie Adler