CANADA STOCKS-U.S. data, Fed stance push TSX higher

* TSX rises 45.24 points, or 0.32 percent, to 14,380.55
    * Six of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Air Canada jumps after finalizing order for Boeing jets
    * Valeant rise supports healthcare sector

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, April 1 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
climbed on Tuesday as positive U.S. economic data and the U.S.
Federal Reserve's defense of its stimulative monetary policy
buoyed investor sentiment. 
    Figures showing a surge in U.S. factory activity in March
came a day after Fed Chair Janet Yellen defended the central
bank's easy monetary policy, signaling that stimulative measures
to boost the U.S. economy will be necessary for some time to
    Her remarks rallied global markets and helped the Canadian
benchmark stock index record a ninth straight monthly gain in
the previous session. The TSX index is up about 5.6 percent this
    "The mood is upbeat," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity
trading at ScotiaMcLeod. "The modest gains that we've had
continue to inspire confidence." 
    "I expect the TSX to do better this year than it did last
year," he said.
    After digesting mixed signals about the state of the global
economy in recent days, investors are awaiting a fresh wave of
data later this week, including the monthly U.S. nonfarm
payrolls report on Friday.
    "We're expecting to see some fairly robust employment
growth, and it does look like things are starting to improve
again coming out of the winter," said Colin Cieszynski, senior
market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. "There's some potential
for positive surprises."
    He said he expects strengthening demand for commodities to
help support the Canadian equity market this year.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 45.24 points, or 0.32 percent, at 14,380.55.
Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were
up 0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada climbed 0.4 percent
to C$73.18, and Bank of Nova Scotia gained 1 percent to
    Industrial shares gained 0.8 percent, with Air Canada
 jumping 4.7 percent to C$5.79, and Bombardier Inc
 adding 3.4 percent to C$4.25.
    Air Canada's gain followed news that the airline had
finalized an order for 61 Boeing Co 737 Max single-aisle
    The healthcare sector advanced 0.5 percent, supported by a 1
percent rise in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc
 to C$146.96.
    ($1=$1.10 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway)