TSX's gold miners, banks help index rise

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Tuesday, helped by gains for gold miners, other materials stocks, and banks, as bullion prices rose ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate decision.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO jumped 2.9 percent to C$26.97 after Reuters reported the world's largest gold producer is weighing a sale of its majority stake in an African miner.

The country's biggest banks were also among the index's most influential gainers, with Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO up 0.7 percent at C$80.41 and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO adding 0.7 percent to C$66.26.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the day up 51.90 points, or 0.36 percent, at 14,550.00.

Six of its 10 main sectors rose, with the materials group that includes precious and base metal miners and fertilizer companies up 2.2 percent.

Goldcorp Inc G.TO rose 1.5 percent to C$24.16 and Potash Corp POT.TO gained 2.6 percent to C$22.90.

But with the index just off its highest close in a year investors are nervous that further gains are unlikely.

“I think we are vulnerable given the fact that valuations are now pushing quite high and the financial results are not stellar, they merely exceed reduced expectations,” said Steve Belisle, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

He said that energy companies looked particularly exposed given sharp recent gains that priced in further appreciation in the price of oil.

“If the price slips back to $40 you have a lot of downside in some of the stocks,” Belisle said.

U.S. crude CLc1 hit a three-month low and settled down 0.5 percent at $42.92 a barrel amid worries of a return to a supply glut.

The most influential weights on the index included pipeline companies Enbridge Inc ENB.TO, down 0.6 percent to C$51.80, and TransCanada Corp TRP.TO, off 0.4 percent at C$60.07.

The overall energy group, however, rose 0.5 percent despite the broader supply concerns.

Gold rose as the U.S. dollar .DXY slipped ahead of a two-day Federal Reserve policy meeting, which will be closely watched for clues on the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

Westjet Airlines Ltd WJA.TO and Canadian National Railway Co CNR.TO both ended lower despite reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Online bingo operator Intertain Group Ltd IT.TO slumped 10.4 percent to C$10.09 after saying it plans to list on the London Stock Exchange as it pursues a UK-focused strategy.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish