* Six of the 10 main index sectors advance
* BMO drops 1.8 percent after reporting results
By John Tilak
TORONTO, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Tuesday as a decline in Bank of Montreal shares after the lender’s quarterly results disappointed the market was offset by strength in the oil and gas sector.
BMO shares shed 1.8 percent after the bank reported a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit. The slide helped undercut other stocks in the benchmark index’s financial sector.
Oil and gas shares shrugged off sharp movement in oil prices, which took a hit after a surge the previous session. Both oil prices and energy shares have declined significantly since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided last week not to cut production.
The index’s energy sector has lost about a third of its value since the middle of June.
“After such a dramatic fall, there are people simply jumping on the trade and driving oil lower because there doesn’t seem to be anything to support it,” said Gavin Graham, chief strategy officer at Integris Pension Management Corp.
“It’s difficult to see anything happening to strengthen oil before the end of the year,” he said, adding that investors should be wary of oil companies that have high levels of debt.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 47.17 points, or 0.32 percent, at 14,672.49. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Among oil and gas shares, Suncor Energy Inc advanced 2 percent to C$37.22, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd added 1.3 percent to C$38.89.
The gold-mining sector dropped 2.3 percent, mirroring a similar fall in the bullion price. Barrick Gold Corp gave back 2.4 percent to C$13.74, and Goldcorp Inc lost 1.7 percent to C$23.65.
$1=$1.14 Canadian Editing by Peter Galloway