TSX rises as oil rally boosts energy shares

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Wednesday as higher oil prices supported energy shares, while insurer Sun Life Financial Inc SLF.TO and exchange operator TMX Group Ltd X.TO fell after reporting earnings that failed to impress investors.

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

U.S. crude oil prices settled $1.45 higher at $43.33 a barrel, bolstered by the biggest one-week drop in U.S. inventories so far this year, and after Iraq and Algeria joined Saudi Arabia in supporting an extension to Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries supply cuts.

The energy group rose 2.1 percent, with Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO up 1.2 percent at C$43.63

The rally in energy stocks spilled over to other sectors of Canada’s stock market, said Manash Goswami, portfolio manager at First Asset Investment Management Inc. “We are very much dependent on the energy economy here.”

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.8 percent, as gold held above the previous day’s eight-week low.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 64.01 points, or 0.41 percent, at 15,633.21. Eight of the index's 10 main groups ended higher.

The index posted a record closing high at 15,922.37 in February but has since been pressured by a pullback in crude oil prices, a more uncertain outlook for Canada’s exports to the United States and mortgage lender concerns.

Home Capital Group HCG.TO fell 1.1 percent to C$8.76 even as the non-bank lender facing a regulator probe said depositors were withdrawing funds at a slower rate.

The overall financials group gained 0.2, held back by a 3.4 percent drop in the shares of Sun Life to C$47.23 after the company reported a smaller-than-expected profit late on Tuesday.

TMX fell 6.7 percent to C$72.97 after its earnings also missed expectations after the bell on Tuesday.

DHX Media Ltd DHXb.TO dipped 0.2 percent to C$5.94 after the children's media company said it would add Snoopy and Strawberry Shortcake to its portfolio with a $345 million deal to buy Iconix Brand Group Inc's entertainment unit.

Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bernard Orr and Sandra Maler