CANADA STOCKS-TSX pushes higher as Putin comments ease Ukraine concerns

* TSX up 28.45 points, or 0.19 percent, at 15,291.18
    * Eight of the 10 main index sectors advance

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
on Thursday as comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin
helped ease worries that the Ukraine crisis could escalate
    Putin said Russians need to mobilize for the benefit of
their country but not for conflict with the outside world.
Equity markets, in Europe especially, have retreated recently on
fears of increased tension between the West and Moscow over
    The Toronto market also rose on Thursday despite data
showing that the number of Americans filing new claims for
unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week.
    The Toronto market's benchmark index has gained about 12
percent this year, though trading has been choppy in the past
couple of weeks due to the crises in Ukraine and the Middle
    "The economic recovery is fair, it is slow," said Adrian
Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management. "It's
like a lumbering airplane coming off the runway. It's not a
fighter jet." 
    "Most people would like (the recovery) to be a little
faster, but the reality is that it's going to plod along." 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed 28.45 points, or 0.19 percent, higher at
15,291.18. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained
0.7 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada rising 0.7
percent to C$80.14 and Toronto-Dominion Bank adding 0.7
percent to C$56.90.
    The consumer staples group was up 1 percent.
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc advanced 1.4 percent to
    A rise in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc
, which climbed 1.5 percent to C$120.95, helped boost
the healthcare sector. The stock was one the most influential
gainers on the index.
    ($1=$1.09 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway)