August 16, 2013 / 3:34 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits three-week high, heads for weekly gain

* TSX rises 29.32 points, or 0.23 percent, to 12,733.84
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Suncor, Enbridge have biggest positive influence on index

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
advanced to its highest level in more than three weeks on Friday
as supply worries drove gains in the price of oil and in the
shares of energy companies, offsetting declines in mining
    The Toronto stock market index, which has managed to
outperform the S&P 500 in August to date, was on track
for a weekly gain.
    A report on Friday showed U.S. consumers, bracing for higher
interest rates and slightly slower economic growth, were a bit
less optimistic in August as sentiment retreated from last
month's six-year high. 
    Investors bracing for the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin
tightening monetary policy were dissecting every piece of
economic data to try to figure out when the Fed will start to
    "The initiation of (Fed) tapering is the worst-kept secret
in town. The question is when," said Irwin Michael, portfolio
manager at ABC Funds. 
    Investors should look at the stimulus pullback as "a
positive thing, that the economy has nursed itself back from the
2008-2009 lows," he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 29.32 points, or 0.23 percent, at 12,733.84,
after rising as high as 12,740.70, its highest level since July
24. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Oil and gas shares climbed 0.6 percent as oil prices rose 
on concerns that violence in Egypt could affect the Suez Canal,
a conduit for up to 3 million barrels per day of oil.
    In the group, Suncor Energy Inc rose 1.5 percent to
C$35.50, and Enbridge Inc advanced 1.1 percent to
C$43.82. The two stocks had the biggest positive influence on
the index.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained
0.2 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest
lender, added 0.3 percent to C$64.02.
    But the materials sector, which includes mining stocks,
slipped 1.4 percent. Barrick Gold Corp lost 2.3 percent
to C$19.97, and fertilizer producer Potash Corp fell
1.9 percent to C$31.58.
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