(Adds strategist comment, updates prices to close)
* TSX ends up 20.72 points, or 0.14 percent, at 14,514.52
* Index touches its highest since Aug. 5 at 14,558.12
* Six of the TSX’s 10 main groups rise
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, July 14 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose to a fresh 11-month high on Thursday as heavyweight banking stocks benefited after U.S. bank JPMorgan Chase reported strong loan growth and rising oil prices boosted energy stocks.
It was a second day of marginal gains for the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index, following two days of more forceful gains to start the week.
The index closed up 20.72 points, or 0.14 percent, at 14,514.52 after touching its highest since Aug. 5 at 14,558.12. Six of its 10 main sectors ended higher.
The gains so far this week have been backed by improved global risk sentiment as political tensions eased in Britain, Japan prepared more stimulus and U.S. stocks hit record highs, while U.S. economic data lent support.
The most influential risers included Royal Bank of Canada , the country’s biggest bank by market capitalization, which rose 0.7 percent to C$79.82, and Manulife Financial Corp , which advanced 1.2 percent to C$17.73.
The overall financial sector group rose 0.4 percent.
“Today we’re getting a boost from some affirmation of that optimism when it comes to corporate profits, with a pretty good start to earnings season led by JPMorgan,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, said it is lending more and keeping a lid on expenses to combat the scourge of low interest rates.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean there is nothing but upside for the Canadian banks from here, but I don’t think it spells a crisis in the banking sector either.”
The energy group rose 0.4 percent, helped by a recovery in oil prices after sharp losses the previous day.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, was one of three declining sectors, down 0.1 percent. Utilities fell 0.4 percent.
Gold fell after the Bank of England surprised investors by leaving interest rates unchanged.
Franco Nevada Corp fell 2.3 percent to C$98.34 and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd lost 1.7 percent to C$72.45. (Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by James Dalgleish)