(Adds trader comment, updates prices to close)
* TSX ends up 41.86 points, or 0.27 percent, at 15,498.80
* Nine of TSX's 10 main groups move higher
* Energy group down 0.9 percent
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Feb 7 Canada's main stock index rose on
Tuesday, with gains among heavyweight financial stocks on talk
of a U.S. interest rate hike in March offsetting losses for
shares of energy companies as oil prices weighed.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
settled up 41.86 points, or 0.27 percent, at
15,498.80. Nine of its 10 groups rose, although advancers only
outnumbered decliners by a 1.2-to-1 ratio overall.
"We've got a broad-based rally but it doesn't have a huge
velocity to it," said Peggy Bowie, a senior trader at Manulife
Asset Management. "Volumes are light and the market is quiet."
She said Canadian financial stocks likely have more room to
run as the prospect of higher interest rates from the U.S.
Federal Reserve push bond yields up and support earnings growth.
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker
said on Monday he was open to raising interest rates at the U.S.
central bank's March policy meeting if growth in jobs and wages
The most influential movers on the Canadian index included
Bank of Nova Scotia, up 1.1 percent at C$79.06, and the
country's biggest bank, Royal Bank of Canada, which rose
0.6 percent to C$95.28.
The financials group, which accounts for 35 percent of the
index's weight, gained 0.6 percent overall.
The energy group fell 0.9 percent as concerns about rising
U.S. shale production weighed on crude oil prices.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd lost 2.4 percent to
C$37.99 and Encana Corp fell 3 percent to C$15.60.
Parex Resources Inc ended 3.1 percent higher at
C$16.06 after the oil and gas company active in Canada and
Colombia replaced its chief executive officer and said its
proved plus probable reserves had grown 37 percent.
Canada posted a second consecutive monthly trade surplus for
the first time in more than two years in December, but booming
oil exports obscured weakness in some key sectors.
Restaurant Brands International Inc advanced 2.7
percent to C$66 after the owner of the Burger King and Tim
Hortons chains provided some 2016 earnings guidance ahead of its
full release next week.
Westjet Airlines Ltd declined 2.5 percent to
C$21.69 despite reporting a higher-than-expected quarterly
Asanko Gold Inc slumped 12.4 percent to C$4.31
after analyst downgrade and Pretium Resources Inc fell
1.7 percent to C$15.92 after it said its costs had increased as
it moved to complete a speedier construction of its Brucejack
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Paul Simao and Grant