TSX rises as energy shares bounce; grocers slide

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index rose on Friday as energy shares rebounded with oil prices, offsetting losses for consumer staple companies on news that internet retailer Inc was buying Whole Foods Market Inc.

FILE PHOTO - A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

The energy group, which hit its lowest level in 13 months on Thursday, rebounded 0.9 percent, led by Enbridge Inc, which rose 2.3 percent to C$51.44.

U.S. crude prices settled 28 cents higher at $44.74 a barrel as some producers reduced exports and U.S. rig additions slowed. [O/R]

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 32.12 points, or 0.21 percent, at 15,192.54, after four straight days of losses and a day after hitting a six-month low.

Six of the index’s 10 main groups ended higher. The heavyweight financials group gained 0.2 percent and industrials rose 0.4 percent.

Still, the index closed below its 200-day moving average for a third straight day. For the week, it fell 1.8 percent.

“We believe that the correction has been in progress for four weeks,” said Sid Mokhtari, market technician and director, institutional equity research, CIBC World Markets.

Recent weakening in oil and gold prices has weighed on the index, which is very “resource-orientated” and could fall another 4 percent before finding a floor, Mokhtari said.

The Canadian consumer staples sector tumbled as much as 3.4 percent in its sharpest fall since October 2008 before paring losses to 1.4 percent, after Amazon made deeper inroads into the grocery sector with its deal to buy Whole Foods.

Loblaw Companies Ltd, which has more than 2,300 corporate, franchised and associate-owned grocery stores and pharmacies across Canada, ended down 3.6 percent at C$72.79, after falling as much as 5.8 percent.

Empire Company Ltd, which has about 1,500 Canadian stores operating under banners including Sobeys and FreshCo, fell 3.6 percent to C$18.74. Metro Inc, which operates some 600 supermarkets in Quebec and Ontario, fell 2.9 percent to C$43.16.

Consumer discretionary shares also retreated, declining 1.0 percent, with Magna International Inc taking a 4.6 percent hit to trade at C$57.30.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.5 percent.

Teck Resources Ltd fell 8.6 percent to C$19.73, extending losses from Thursday after the miner said it was lowering its forecast of the average realized price for its steelmaking coal in the second quarter. Several analysts cut its target price on the news.

Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by W Simon and Leslie Adler