March 31, 2009 / 2:29 PM / in 9 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher as energy, bank issues support

* TSX up 0.23 percent at 8,615.90

* Air Canada shares fall after CEO resigns

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TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose on Tuesday morning, but was off early highs, as steady oil prices helped spur investors to buy following a market stumble in the previous session.

The energy sector, up 0.8 percent, led the resource-laden index higher as oil CLc1 held steady above $48 a barrel following big losses in the previous session. [ID:nLV397488]

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose 0.4 percent to C$48.94.

The heavily-weighted financials group, which accounts for about one-third of the index’s total weight, rose 0.6 percent with Manulife Financial MFC.TO up 1.5 percent at C$13.92. Toronto-Dominion (TD.TO) climbed 1.9 percent to C$42.79.

“The Canadian market was sold-off yesterday so it looks like a bit of a technical bounce,” said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities.

At 9:55 a.m. (1355 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 19.68 points, or 0.23 percent, at 8,615.90, with four of its 10 main groups higher. Earlier, the index shot up more than 1 percent.

The rise comes after the TSX fell more than 2 percent in the previous session to wipe out much of last week’s 3.7 percent gain, as troubles in the North American auto sector and the European banking industry rattled investor sentiment.

The materials group, home to mining and fertilizer companies, was up 0.1 percent but individual stocks were mixed. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) fell 0.9 percent to C$102.60.

Shares of Canada’s biggest airline, Air Canada ACa.TO, slumped 12 percent to 95 Canadian cents. In a statement late on Monday, the company said its chief executive Montie Brewer resigned, effective April 1. Calin Rovinescu, a former senior executive with the airline, will succeed Brewer. [ID:nBNG455095] ($1=$1.26 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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