(Adds portfolio manager quotes, details on background, Fairfax Financial and Teck Resources; updates prices)
* TSX closes up 23.11 points, or 0.15 percent, at 15,292.96
* Just three of the TSX’s 10 main groups gain
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose for the fourth straight day on Tuesday, clawing back much of its losses after the Federal Reserve raised U.S. interest rates, as gains for financials and materials offset losses for defensive sectors.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 23.11 points, or 0.15 percent, at 15,292.96.
The index has climbed 17.5 percent this year, with an agreement by major oil producers to cut output and the prospect of U.S. economic stimulus giving the rally some recent additional momentum.
“There are probably some significant (investor) accounts out there who are under-owned in equities and are looking for opportunities... buying where they feel there is a further move to be had,” said Peggy Bowie, senior trader at Manulife Asset Management.
One sector in which investors are underinvested is financials, Bowie said.
“They see that (sector) as moving up significantly over the next year, both in Canada and in the United States.”
The financials group rose 0.4 percent, led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, which rebounded nearly 5 percent to C$635.00 after falling 1.5 percent on Monday.
The insurance company said on Sunday it has agreed to buy Swiss insurer Allied World Assurance Company Holdings AG for $4.9 billion in cash and stock.
Shares of label and packaging maker CCL Industries Inc surged 19.6 percent to C$271.19. The company said on Monday it would acquire the U.K.-based Innovia Group of companies for about C$1.13 billion.
Teck Resources Ltd climbed 4.4 percent to C$28.79, but some gold miners lost ground as gold fell.
The overall materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, gained 1.3 percent.
Seven of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower, including losses for defensive sectors, such as telecoms, utilities and consumer staples.
“People will move out of those sectors into financials and other sectors that they feel have more growth opportunity going forward,” Bowie said.
BlackBerry Ltd reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings and raised its full-year growth forecast, though concerns about overall revenue growth reversed early share gains. The smartphone pioneer lost 0.1 percent at C$10.02.
Energy dipped 0.3 percent as some early gains for oil were pared after Libya announced the reopening of pipelines after a two-year blockade that ended earlier this month.
U.S. crude prices settled 11 cents higher at $52.23 a barrel. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Paul Simao)