March 16, 2016 / 8:52 PM / in 2 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises as oil boosts energy stocks after Fed

(Adds portfolio manager comment, Fed news; updates prices to close)

* TSX ends up 77.82 points, or 0.58 percent, at 13,478.13

* Six of the TSX’s 10 main groups rise

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, March 16 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Wednesday as energy companies gained, albeit less than oil prices, as the U.S. dollar plunged after the Federal Reserve cut the number of rate hikes it expects to implement this year.

Gold miners also surged as the precious metal jumped on the Fed news.

U.S. oil prices jumped almost 6 percent, boosted by the Fed’s greenback-weakening stance as well as firmer plans from major producers to discuss an output freeze and slower growth in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Canada’s energy sector rose a more modest 1.5 percent, which Norman Levine, managing director at Portfolio Management Corp, said could be partially explained by a strong recent rally in the stocks.

“Mining stocks and oil stocks have had big runs already, they’re up some here, not huge,” he said.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 3.6 percent.

The most influential gainers on the index included Canadian Natural Resources, up 2.9 percent to C$36.22, and Suncor Energy Inc, which added 1 percent to C$36.12.

Barrick Gold Corp jumped 5 percent to C$19.93 and Goldcorp Inc gained 4.1 percent to C$22.30.

The U.S. central bank said moderate U.S. economic growth and “strong job gains” would allow it to tighten policy this year, but said it expects two quarter-point hikes in 2016, versus the four projected in December.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 77.82 points, or 0.58 percent, at 13,478.13.

Six of the index’s 10 main groups were in positive territory, with advancers outnumbering decliners by 2.4-to-1.

Canadian manufacturing sales rose far more than expected at the start of the year, driven by a jump in sales of motor vehicles, auto parts and food, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.

Encana Corp gained 9.1 percent to C$7.94 after rating agency Fitch assigned the company a first-time rating of BBB- on Tuesday with a negative outlook. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by James Dalgleish and David Gregorio)

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