*TSX up 63.59 points, or 0.54 percent, to 11,863.56
*Energy, financials lead TSX higher
*Nine of TSX’s 10 main sectors higher (Adds details)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose on Monday as strong oil prices pushed up its energy sector and investors showed optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve will signal steps to boost economic recovery.
The energy sector was up 0.6 percent as oil prices rose above $81 a barrel, helped in part by expectations the U.S. central bank may signal its readiness to print more money to support the economy. [O/R] Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose 1 percent to C$36.85.
“Canada is regarded, thanks to its big resource exposure, as a play on global growth and people are expecting there will be quantitative easing (by the Fed) or at least some indication that’s the direction they’re heading in,” said Gavin Graham, global strategist at Excel Funds Management Inc.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the session up 63.59 points, or 0.54 percent, at 11,863.56, with nine of its 10 main sectors higher. The small utilities sector sank 0.2 percent.
Financial shares were boosted by “feel good economic stories” such as figures released on Monday by McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) [ID:nN09255018], said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.
“McDonald’s same store sales in July were up 7 percent. Macdonald’s tends to be looked upon as a bit of a bellwether consumer stock,” he said.
Gorman also said there was general optimism that Canadian banks will report healthy results for their fiscal third quarter.
“The Canadian financials, in particular the banks, are quite strong today. I think apart from this general positive sentiment in the market today you’ve got anticipation about Q3 earnings,” he said. Bank results are due later this month.
Research In Motion RIM.TO was the top net gainer on the TSX, rising 3.4 percent to C$56.80. The BlackBerry maker and Saudi mobile firms were testing three servers to send communications and data through Saudi Arabia before Canada to address Riyadh’s concerns over security, a Saudi official said on Sunday. [ID:nLDE6770AQ]
Also supporting the resource-heavy index were copper prices, which edged higher in part on expectations of healthy demand from top consumer China. [MET/L] Teck Resources TCKb.TO rose 2 percent to C$36.30.
Elsewhere, Menu Foods Income Fund MEW_u.TO, a top net gainer on the TSX, climbed 44 percent to C$4.72. Menu Foods said Simmons Pet Food Inc is buying it for about C$239 million, including the assumption of debt. [ID:nSGE67807Z]
Aecon Group Inc (ARE.TO), Canada’s biggest publicly traded construction company, said it plans to buy the assets of privately owned Cow Harbour Construction Ltd for about C$180 million, as it stakes a deeper claim on a revival in Western Canada’s oil sands industry. [ID:nSGE6780CS] Aecon shares rose 3.2 percent to C$11.93.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 3.77 points, or 0.55 percent, higher at 692.85.
$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway