CANADA STOCKS-UK vote, U.S. jobs help drive TSX higher

(Updates with analyst’s comment, details, updated figures)

* TSX up 72.43 points, or 0.48 percent, at 15,161.25

* Nine of the index’s 10 main groups rise

TORONTO, May 8 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Friday, tracking upbeat global markets as sentiment warmed following a surprise win by the business-friendly Conservatives in the UK election and data that showed a rebound in the U.S. labor market in April.

In the United States, all three main stock indexes, the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite were up over 1 percent.

“It’s been a difficult week. The currencies, equities indices have been very volatile. So it’s a bit of a sigh of relief. The path of least resistance is on the upside,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.

“There are a number of positive drivers. The Conservative majority victory in the UK ... On balance, nice recovery in the U.S. market. It gives people more confidence.”

The biggest heavyweight movers on the index included Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, which rose 0.97 percent to C$268.02, and Royal Bank of Canada, up 0.5 percent at C$79.19.

The overall healthcare group climbed 1.5 percent, while the hefty financial sector, which makes up some 35 percent of the index’s weight, was up 0.5 percent.

At 10:53 a.m. EDT (1453 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 72.43 points, or 0.48 percent, at 15,161.25.

Nine of the index’s 10 main groups were higher, with telecoms the lone decliner, down 1 percent. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 159 to 82, for a 1.94-to-1 ratio on the upside.

Energy stocks, hit hard this week by an historic election in oil-rich Alberta in which the left-leaning New Democratic Party toppled the Progressive Conservatives after 44 years in power, climbed 0.8 percent. By Thursday’s close, the sector had lost about 5.5 percent this week. In the group, Suncor Energy rose 1.3 percent to C$36.87 on Friday.

U.S. data showed employment growth rebounded in April with 223,000 new jobs and a drop in the unemployment rate, signs of a pickup in the economy after a lackluster first quarter.

The surprise Conservative majority election victory in Britain alleviated market concerns about over what had been expected to be an extremely close vote resulting in an inconclusive “hung parliament”.

$1=$1.21 Canadian Editing by Peter Galloway