Energy stock gains lead rising TSX on higher oil

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index ended higher on Monday, with energy stocks leading broad gains as the price of oil rose.

The heavyweight energy group climbed 1.6 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO adding 1.6 percent to C$45.31 and Encana Corp ECA.TO up 3 percent at C$16.02, as a shutdown at Libya's largest oilfield and political tensions in the Middle East supported prices. [O/R]

“In terms of valuations, the Canadian (energy) names look fairly attractive versus U.S. peers,” said Manash Goswami, portfolio manager at First Asset Investment Management Inc.

He said U.S. investors might be wary about a possible U.S. border adjustment tax on Canadian oil imports, which he said he thought unlikely to materialize.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE settled up 63.66 points, or 0.41 percent, at 15,730.79. Eight of its 10 main sectors gained, with financials and technology groups barely lower.

“We have a positive outlook for 2017 as a number of key economic indicators are pointing to an expansion in economic activity and we see positive growth trends in revenue and earnings in both Canada and the U.S.,” Goswami said.

The stock market operator, TMX Group Ltd X.TO, rose 1.5 percent to C$71.69 after China's state-owned clearing house said on Saturday that it would work with the company to expedite cross-border investments.

Canadian housing starts jumped in March to their highest level in nearly a decade on a sharp rise for multifamily buildings, defying expectations of a slowdown, data showed.

Shares of Ritchie Bros Auctioneers Inc RBA.TO fell 5.4 percent to C$40.57 after a bank downgraded the stock.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bernard Orr and Richard Chang