CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2-1/2 week high as energy leads

(Updates prices, adds analyst comments)

* TSX up 78.96 points, or 0.53 percent, to 14,983.87

* Nine of the TSX’s 10 main groups were up

TORONTO, June 24 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose for the third straight session on Wednesday, hitting a 2-1/2 week high as energy stocks lead broad gains across the board, bucking broader market trends.

Suncor Energy Inc was by far the top-weighted stock on the positive side, rising 2.67 percent to C$35.71. Canadian Natural Resources was close behind, advancing 1.5 percent to C$36.47.

The overall oil and gas sector rallied for the third day in a row, climbing 1.4 percent, helped in part by U.S. oil prices that traded around the $60 level, holding at a relatively steady range after a volatile first quarter.

“(Energy)’s got a lot traction from resilience in crude oil and rally in natural gas,” said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.

At 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose 78.96 points, or 0.53 percent, to 14,983.87. The index has advanced some 2.3 percent this week so far, rebounding from recent declines.

All but one of the index’s 10 main sectors rose.

“It’s rallied this week helped by Greek optimism,” said Smith, referring to hopes Greece can soon unlock aid to avert a debt default.

Smith also noted the TSX index’s rebound from March lows around the 14,600 level. “The Fed’s dovish narrative last week has been a tailwind for us,” he added.

“We’ve bounced off the bottom of the multi-month range. Now it looks like we’re going to test the 15,000 threshold. So a close above 15,000, you’d look for that open the door to additional strength.”

The heavily weighted financials and materials groups were also providing a solid boost, both rising above 0.5 percent.

Royal Bank of Canada shares rose 0.7 percent to C$78.52, while Brookfield Asset Management added 1.3 percent to C$45.04. First Quantum Minerals climbed 3.7 percent to C$18.24.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the TSX a 2.00-to-1 ratio on the upside. The index was posting 4 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows.

Reporting by Solarina Ho Editing by W Simon