June 27, 2014 / 11:34 AM / 5 years ago

TSX climbs, led by bank and insurance stocks

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Friday as gains in shares of banks and insurers helped overcome concerns about sluggish economic data.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Also providing support, Empire Company Ltd (EMPa.TO), operator of the Canadian grocery chain Sobeys Inc, jumped 4.6 percent, to C$70.82, after a brokerage upgraded the stock.

Data on Friday showed Canadian industrial product prices unexpectedly fell in May, due largely to cheaper energy and a stronger currency.

Investors also paid attention to Iraq and Ukraine, which remain volatile but show signs of stabilization. The price of U.S. crude oil CLc1 slipped.

The Toronto market has gained nearly 11 percent since the start of the year, and investors are looking to see if there are enough catalysts that could push the market higher.

“We expect the market to be extremely volatile, but we believe the trend is still upwards,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. “We expect to see the Canadian stock market to close the year higher than where it is today.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 63.51 points, or 0.42 percent, at 15,094.25. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, rose 0.6 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) advanced 0.9 percent to C$76.03, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) added 0.9 percent to C$78.58.

Insurer Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) was up 0.4 percent to C$21.21.

Shares of energy producers edged higher, with Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) climbing 0.5 percent to C$45.61 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) gaining 0.7 percent to C$48.85.

Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler

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