March 3, 2016 / 12:36 PM / a year ago

TSX hits new 2016 high, energy stocks jump

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit a 2016 high on Thursday as energy stocks rose despite a petered out oil rally, and other resource stocks gained as commodity prices more generally reflected increased confidence in prospects for global growth.

Among the gainers was Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO), which surged 8.9 percent to C$32.85 after it reduced its 2016 capital expenditure plan and eyed further cuts in the future.

Belt-tightening across the industry is being seen as necessary and prudent to deal with low oil prices.

"They're all making the right moves; they continue to cut costs," said Brian Pow, an equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary. "When they come out the other side there's going to be some pretty significant leverage that comes through from the top line."

The energy sector climbed 2.8 percent, but oil prices barely moved higher as growing U.S. crude stockpiles overshadowed bullish sentiment that had built up in the oil market this week. [O/R]

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 105.72 points, or 0.81 percent, at 13,123.65.

On Wednesday, the Canada index pushed above 13,000 for the first time this year as investors shook off worries about global growth after seeing improved data from major economies and signs of a rebound in commodity prices.

On Thursday, eight of its 10 main groups were positive.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 2.5 percent as gold prices climbed toward $1,260 an ounce and copper hit a three-month high. [GOL/][MET/L]

Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) rose 3.8 percent to C$20.04 and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) was up 2.3 percent at C$18.64.

The financials group gained 0.7 percent, with Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) adding 1.5 percent to C$58.62 and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) up 0.9 percent at C$70.75.

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO) rose 3.3 percent to C$45.51 after posting a better-than-expected adjusted fourth-quarter profit and said it expected profit growth at its core engineering and construction business in 2016.

Industrials rose 1.1 percent.

On the negative side, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) fell 4.2 percent to C$86.91 after the drugmaker said a senior executive had resigned and had not been asked to leave.

Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Toni Reinhold

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