August 19, 2009 / 9:08 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX rides oil price to higher close

* TSX up 12.99 points, or 0.12 percent, at 10,686.83

* Energy sector up 0.3 percent as oil price up 4 percent

* Investors bid up banks ahead of results next week (Adds details, quote)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended slightly higher on Wednesday, helped by firmness in energy shares as oil prices jumped after a U.S. inventory report fueled hope that oil demand could be recovering.

Oil company Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) climbed 0.3 percent to C$63.64, and EnCana (ECA.TO) was up 0.6 percent at C$56.84.

The index fought back from a 1.5 percent slide earlier in the session, when market sentiment was undermined by a big selloff on Chinese stock markets that shook investor confidence about the strength of global economic recovery.

The choppiness of trade highlighted anxiety in the market, said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.

“There’s still concerns about whether economic growth globally is going to resume at a fast enough pace to support the higher stock prices we’ve already seen,” Warne said.

“Offsetting that is the fact that we’re seeing higher oil prices and U.S. markets have rebounded a bit.”

Data showed crude stocks in the United States fell last week, confounding analyst expectations for a rise and pushing oil up more than 4 percent on Wednesday to settle above $72 a barrel. [ID:nSIN507010] That helped lift the index’s energy group by 0.3 percent.

The index’s financial sector was up 0.5 percent ahead of quarterly results from Canada’s big banks due next week. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was up 0.9 percent at C$50.58, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) rose 1.7 percent at C$63.58.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 12.99 points, or 0.12 percent, at 10,686.83, with six of the index’s 10 main groups higher.

“We’re sort of in the late summer doldrums here when everyone is on holiday,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.

“Volumes are not really that magnificent so it has trouble getting a real beat going.”

The index’s materials group was up just 0.07 percent on a mixed picture in gold and base metals prices.

Research In Motion RIM.TO fell 1.4 percent to C$80.33, while other big names in the red included Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), down 0.6 percent at C$21.56, and Teck Resources TCKb.TO, which pulled back 2.1 percent to C$27.66.

The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 1.62 points, or 0.25 percent, higher at 643.52.

$1=$1.10 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway

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