(New throughout, updates prices and market activity, adds comment from portfolio manager, details on Canadian Natural Resources)
* TSX closes up 18.48 points, or 0.12 percent, at 15,476.94
* Four of the TSX’s 10 main groups rise
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, May 23 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Tuesday, bolstered by bank stocks ahead of the release of earnings reports and a surge in BlackBerry Ltd shares, as trading resumed a day after the Victoria Day holiday.
The heavily weighted financials group rose 0.7 percent, as investors braced for earnings reports this week from major banks.
Bank of Nova Scotia climbed 0.9 percent to C$76.17 and Toronto Dominion Bank gained 0.8 percent to C$63.57.
“The banks are up today on the expectation of a solid Q2,” said Cavan Yie, portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.
Yie expects loan growth, credit quality and capital markets activity to be supportive of bank earnings in the second quarter but is cautious about the outlook for earnings growth due to elevated house prices and household debt.
BlackBerry jumped 8.8 percent to C$15.27 as investors raised expectations that the technology company’s cyber security and automotive software sectors will post strong growth, an analyst said.
This month’s global “ransomware” attack, dubbed WannaCry, has raised awareness of BlackBerry’s security software business, while Ford Motor Co said late Friday it would start using an “over the air” system to update software on its interactive touchscreen system, which runs on BlackBerry software.
The information technology group rose 1.1 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 18.48 points, or 0.12 percent, at 15,476.94.
Just four of the index’s 10 main groups rose, while resource shares were among those that weighed.
The energy group retreated 0.8 percent even as oil prices climbed.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd declined 1.7 percent to C$41.28. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has decided to offload a roughly C$4.1 billion stake in the company that it acquired as part of a deal to retreat from Canada’s oil sands earlier this year, people familiar with the situation told Reuters.
U.S. crude oil prices settled 34 cents higher at $51.47 a barrel as expectations of an extension to OPEC-led supply cuts overshadowed a White House proposal to sell half of U.S. petroleum reserves.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.2 percent as gold stocks lost some ground.
Gold futures fell 0.8 percent to $1,250.6 an ounce as traders locked in profits after two weeks of gains. (Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by James Dalgleish and David Gregorio)