* TSX up 74.68 points, or 0.49 percent, at 15,199.60
* Eight of the 10 main index sectors advance
* Suncor, Penn West lifted by higher oil prices
By John Tilak
TORONTO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index advanced to its highest in more than four months on Friday as strong U.S. jobs data boosted investor sentiment and higher oil prices lifted shares of energy producers.
Data showed U.S. job growth climbed in January and wages rebounded strongly, raising expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will increase interest rates sooner than later.
The benchmark Canadian index looked on track to record a weekly gain of 3.5 percent. It is up nearly 4 percent so far this year.
“The U.S. economy is becoming self-sustaining, there is growth and it’s probably going to accelerate,” said Arthur Salzer, executive director and chief executive officer of Northland Wealth Management.
“It finally seems that we’ve gotten past that economic malaise that was created by the credit crisis,” he added.
Salzer said that the lower Canadian dollar should help support equities and that he remained underweight on the energy sector.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 74.68 points, or 0.49 percent, at 15,199.60. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Banks and other financial stocks made strong gains, rising 1.6 percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 1.6 percent to C$76.63 and insurer Manulife Financial Corp was up 2 percent to C$21.79.
Shares of oil producers climbed 1.4 percent, supported by strength in crude prices. Suncor Energy Inc gained 1.4 percent to C$39.09, and Penn West Petroleum jumped 5.1 percent to C$2.90.
$1=$1.25 Canadian Reporting by John Tilak; Editing by Peter Galloway