TSX edges up as higher commodity prices support resource stocks

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index edged higher on Wednesday, led by the energy and materials groups after a drop in oil inventories pushed crude higher and gold rebounded from nearly two-week lows.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The index has rebounded from a nearly-four week low on Monday as oil rallied but its recovery has held short of the six-month high of 13,972.62 reached at the end of April.

“There seems to be a lot of uncertainty about gold and oil pricing,” said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates.

Investors are grappling with the impact of lower oil prices on oil company operations and how soon production will come back in Alberta, he added.

Workers for one of the largest oil sands companies affected by a massive wildfire in northern Canada will begin returning to the shuttered facilities on Thursday, a union official said.

Encana Corp ECA.TO surged 13.4 percent to C$8.97, while the overall energy group gained 1 percent.

U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled at $46.23 a barrel, up 3.52 percent, after the U.S. government unexpectedly said crude inventories fell the first time since March.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.1 percent.

Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO rose 2.2 percent to C$23.71, while First Quantum Minerals Ltd FM.TO was up 8.2 percent at C$9.23.

Spot gold XAU= was up 0.8 percent at $1,276.68 an ounce as the U.S. dollar and global shares fell.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 13.02 points, or 0.09 percent, at 13,788.21. It touched its highest since May 3 of 13,829.73.

Five of the index’s 10 main groups ended higher.

Financials rose 0.2 percent, including a 0.8 percent advance in the shares of Sun Life Financial Inc SLF.TO to C$43.14. The company reported a 13-percent increase in underlying net income in the first quarter, exceeding estimates.

InnVest Real Estate Investment INN_u.TO said that it has entered into an agreement to be bought by Bluesky Hotels and Resorts. Its shares jumped more than 29 percent to C$7.07.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc BAMa.TO fell 1.5 percent to C$43.56. The company has offered to buy a division of state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA's natural gas pipeline unit.

The shares of Kinross Gold Corp K.TO fell 4.8 percent to C$6.81 after the company reported on Tuesday lower-than-expected quarterly revenue.

Industrials lost 0.7 percent as railway stocks dragged, while consumer discretionary stocks fell 1.4 percent.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by James Dalgleish and Nick Zieminski