* TSX up 14.83 points, or 0.10 percent, at 14,754.03
* Five of 10 main index sectors advance
By John Tilak
TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index advanced on Thursday as higher copper prices supported shares of some mining companies, helping offset a decline in the energy sector.
The benchmark TSX’s second straight gain follows equity market weakness after a strong U.S. jobs report on Friday fueled investor speculation that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates sooner than expected.
Copper hit its highest prices in more than a week after upbeat lending data out of China calmed fears about metals demand, while energy shares followed the price of U.S. crude oil lower.
Oil prices have been choppy in recent months over concerns about global oversupply. A plunge in prices from the middle of last year has recently begun to show signs of leveling off.
“The oil price has stabilized around the $50 level,” said Mark Allen, vice president of Canadian equities at RBC Wealth Management. “The energy sector is one that is offering value in the Canadian market.”
“We could definitely see further weakness in the oil price, but I would expect a pattern similar to what we have seen in the past, where you’re going to have volatility near the lowest for some time,” he said.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 14.83 points, or 0.10 percent, at 14,754.03. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Among shares of energy producers, Suncor Energy Inc lost 0.8 percent to C$35.72 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd gave back 0.7 percent to C$36.32.
In the mining sector, First Quantum Minerals Ltd jumped 4.1 percent to C$14.30, and Teck Resources Ltd added 1.9 percent to C$18.08. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)