* TSX up 18.95 points, or 0.15 percent, at 12,816.74
* Eight of the TSX’s 10 main groups rise
TORONTO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday as gains in oil and precious metals prices drove energy and gold mining stocks higher, while Valeant Pharmaceuticals International weighed heavily after delaying its earnings report.
The price of oil was higher after strong gains last week on increasing hopes the market has bottomed out and as OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia said it would work with other producers to limit oil market volatility.
Suncor Energy Inc advanced 1.1 percent to C$33.26 and Canadian Natural Resources gained 1.4 percent to C$27.77. The energy group climbed 1.2 percent.
Gold was on track for its biggest monthly gain in four years, as the precious metal rediscovers its role as a shelter for risk-averse investors in the face of tumbling equities and fears of a global economic slowdown.
Barrick Gold Corp advanced 1.7 percent to C$18.58, Goldcorp Inc advanced 1.3 percent to C$18.97.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.1 percent.
Eight of the index’s 10 main groups were higher, with advancers outnumbering decliners by almost 4-to-1.
Still, by 10:03 a.m. EST (1503 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was only up 18.95 points, or 0.15 percent, at 12,816.74.
The most influential weight on the index by far was Valeant, which fell 7.9 percent to C$101.18 after the drug company said its CEO would return from medical leave effective immediately, and it postponed the release of fourth-quarter results planned for Monday.
The healthcare sector fell 2.4 percent, while the financials group slipped 0.1 percent. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp Editing by W Simon)
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