(Adds specific stocks, updates prices)
* TSX up 4.49 points, or 0.03 percent, at 15,541.1
* Half of the TSX's 10 main groups move higher
TORONTO, March 3 Canada's benchmark stock index
made small gains on Friday as some heavyweight energy and
financial stocks rose with higher oil prices and as investors
positioned themsevles for a possible U.S. interest rate hike
At 10:29 a.m. EST (1529 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 4.49 points, or 0.03
percent, at 15,541.14.
Half of its 10 main groups were higher, and advancers and
decliners were evenly matched.
The index is on track for a 0.1 percent gain on the week.
The most influential movers on the day included Canadian
Natural Resources Ltd, which added 2.1 percent to
C$41.34, extending Thursday's sharp jump after posting
The energy group climbed 1.1 percent overall, with Cenovus
Energy Inc up 1.9 percent at C$17.13. However, pipeline
operators slipped, with Enbridge Inc down 0.3 percent
to C$55.07 and TransCanada Corp also off 0.3 percent,
Oil prices recouped some of the previous session's losses as
a weaker dollar encouraged buying, although investors remained
cautious after Russian production figures showed weak compliance
with a global deal to cut output.
The financials group gained 0.2 percent overall, with Bank
of Nova Scotia up 0.8 percent to C$79.34 and
Toronto-Dominion Bank added 0.6 percent to C$69.40.
Scotia's earnings earlier this week smashed expectations,
while TD also beat forecasts, and its U.S. exposure is seen as a
Canada's banks are already seeing the benefits of pro-growth
policies pursued by U.S. President Donald Trump's new
administration, executives said, with expectations of tax cuts,
lighter regulation and fiscal stimulus boosting market
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will give a speech
at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) that follows a string of hawkish
comments, interpreted as favoring interest rate hikes, from Fed
officials this week.
Higher rates would also help Canadian banks increase their
net interest margins.
Industrials rose 0.2 percent, with Canadian National Railway
Co advancing 0.7 percent to C$95.67.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals
miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.4 percent.
TransAlta advanced 5.8 percent to C$7.46 after the utility
reported quarterly earnings.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp Editing by W Simon)