TSX rises, led by financials as U.S.-North Korea tensions ease

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday as investors jumped back into riskier assets as some tensions eased over North Korea, with heavyweight financials leading gains, while lower oil prices weighed on energy shares.

The Toronto Stock Exchange sign is seen in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE mirrored global markets, which rebounded from their biggest weekly losses of the year, after U.S. officials played down the likelihood of a nuclear conflict with North Korea.

Global conflict fears tend to provide “buying opportunities” for investors, said Steve Palmer, chief investment officer at AlphaNorth Asset Management.

The most influential movers on the index included Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, which rose 1.1 percent to C$93.54, and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO, which advanced 1 percent to C$77.45. The overall financials group gained nearly 1 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 86.53 points, or 0.58 percent, at 15,119.91.

The index has lost 1.1 percent since the start of the year. But strengthening of the global economy can improve the outlook for the resource-linked market once the summer winds down, Palmer said.

Industrials rose 1.2 percent, with the country's biggest rail operator, Canadian National Railway CNR.TO rising 1.4 percent to C$102.26.

Just three of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower. Energy stocks fell 1.3 percent as oil prices declined.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled 2.5 percent lower at $47.59 a barrel, pressured by a stronger U.S. dollar .DXY and weak domestic demand data in China.

Still, shares of Husky Energy Inc HSE.TO gained 0.8 percent to C$14.73 after the integrated oil company said it would buy a refinery in the United States.

The materials group, home to resource firms including gold and lumber producers, dipped 0.2 percent.

Gold futures GCc1, which had benefited last week from safe-haven demand, fell 0.5 percent to $1,281 an ounce. [GOL/]

Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO fell 1.5 percent to C$21.27, while Goldcorp Inc G.TO was down 1.1 percent at C$16.31.

Lumber producers also fell, with West Fraser Timber Co Ltd WFT.TO down 3.3 percent to C$63.21 and Interfor Corp IFP.TO sliding 4.6 percent to C$18.38. BMO Capital Markets downgraded both companies to "market perform," saying prospects for a near-term settlement of the U.S.-Canadian lumber dispute have faded.

Canada laid down a tough line ahead of talks on modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement, suggesting it could walk away if the United States pushed to remove a dispute-settlement mechanism in the trade deal.

Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Grant McCool