(Adds analyst comment, updates prices to close)
* TSX ends up 77.75 points, or 0.58 percent, at 13,503.98
* Nine of the index’s 10 main groups rise
* On track for best month since October 2011
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, March 30 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Wednesday as consumer and bank stocks bounced and equity investors broadly cheered a more cautious tone on U.S. interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
“The whole market is basically on a rise because of her (Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s) comments about low (interest rates) for longer,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
Yellen on Tuesday said the U.S. central bank should proceed cautiously, pushing back on a handful of her colleagues who have suggested another rate hike may be just around the corner.
“It’s a psychological boost, but at the end of the day you still need to have good earnings,” Nakamoto said.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended the session up 106.67 points, or 0.79 percent, at 13,532.90.
It is on track to notch a 5 percent gain in March, its biggest monthly move higher since October 2011.
The heavyweight financials group gained 0.8 percent while consumer staples rose 1.4 percent and consumer discretionary stocks added 1 percent.
Among the most influential movers on the index was Royal Bank of Canada, which rose 0.9 percent to C$75.44, and discount retailer Dollarama, which surged 7.5 percent to C$88.91 after reporting a 25 percent jump in profit and hiking its dividend.
Pipeline operator Enbridge Inc rose 2 percent to C$50.09 and rival TransCanada Corp gained 2.3 percent to C$50.72.
The overall energy group climbed 0.4 percent, paring much larger early gains as the price of oil settled steady, erasing most of the day’s gains.
Gold miners meanwhile lost ground as the precious metal failed to retain its luster a day after rallying on Yellen’s go-slow signal.
Barrick Gold Corp declined 2.9 percent to C$17.82 and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd fell 2.2 percent to C$47.66.
Gold remains on track for its best quarter in nearly 30 years, up 16.4 percent.
Nine of the index’s 10 main groups moved higher, with just under two advancers for every decliner.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.1 percent. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by James Dalgleish and Sandra Maler)