* TSX rises 69.19 points, or 0.56 pct, to 12,381.94
* Financial, energy stocks lead rally
* Traders assess impact of massive storm Sandy
By John Tilak
TORONTO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose on Tuesday, led higher by financial and energy stocks on light volumes, as investors tried to assess the impact of super storm Sandy on the United States.
Sandy, one of the biggest storms to ever hit the country, left at least 15 people dead and caused significant power disruptions, though some market players had expected even more devastation.
The Canadian market felt the effect of the closure of U.S. stock markets for the second straight day, with trading volumes well below average.
“The disruption caused by the storm with the closure of the financial markets in the United States is having the major effect,” said Gavin Graham, president of Graham Investment Strategy.
“Given how lackluster the trading is, how low the volumes are, people are very reluctant to take positions,” he said.
Volume on the Toronto Stock Exchange was light at about 16 million shares, just over half of Friday’s 30 million shares traded around the same time.
Some energy stocks were among the biggest gainers.
Suncor Energy Inc was up 1.51 percent at C$33.60, while Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. rose 2 percent at C$30.38, playing the biggest role of any two companies in leading the market higher.
The energy sub group, one of the biggest on the index, was up 0.64 percent even though Brent crude prices fell.
“It’s a reminder that stuff happens, whether it is an act of God like Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, or alternatively political uncertainty like the Iranian situation in the Persian Gulf,” Graham said.
Financials, up 0.44 percent, played the biggest role of any sector in lifting the market, led by Royal Bank of Canada , up 0.75 percent to C$56.77.
Materials stocks were up 0.63 percent, helped by gains in gold companies. Barrick Gold rose 1 percent to C$39.99.
At midmorning, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 69.19 points, or 0.56 percent, at 12,381.94. All the ten main groups within the index were positive.