(Adds portfolio manager quote, details on Bombardier and U.S.
healthcare vote and updates prices)
* TSX closes up 9.06 points, or 0.06 percent, at 15,442.67
* Six of the TSX's 10 main groups end higher
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, March 24 Canada's main stock edged
higher on Friday, led by consumer-related stocks, while U.S.
approval of the Keystone XL pipeline gave TransCanada Corp
a boost before some gains were pared.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
closed up 9.06 points, or 0.06 percent, at 15,442.67.
It was the second straight day of gains for the index after
Canada's government on Wednesday held off from raising taxes on
investors in its budget.
Modest gains for the TSX on Friday came as stocks on Wall
Street pared losses after Republicans pulled their bill to
overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.
Still, the index dipped 0.3 percent for the week. It hit on
Wednesday a three-month low intraday at 15,241.55.
"There is further near term downside to come," said Robert
McWhirter, president and portfolio manager at Selective Asset
He expects a downturn in copper and oil to weigh on the
commodity heavy TSX through June.
Together, the energy and materials groups account for more
than 30 percent of the index's weight.
TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline would bring more than
800,000 barrels of heavy crude per day from Canada's oil sands
to U.S. refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico.
The pipeline company's shares ended up 0.1 percent at
C$61.82, while the overall energy group also gained 0.1 percent
as oil prices rose.
Prices of oil, one of Canada's major exports, were boosted
by hopes that an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries output cut was beginning to balance a
U.S. crude prices settled 27 cents higher at $47.97 a
Six of the index's 10 main groups advanced, including a 0.7
percent gain for consumer discretionary stocks and a 0.4 percent
gain for consumer staples, while the heavyweight financials
group ended little changed.
Bombardier Inc said its CSeries will soon become
the largest commercial aircraft capable of landing at London
City Airport, a feat the Canadian planemaker expects will whet
buyer interest at a time of sluggish market demand for new jets.
Its shares rose 0.5 percent to C$2.02.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals
miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.2 percent.
Gold futures rose 0.1 percent to $1,248.3 an ounce,
while copper prices declined 0.4 percent to $5,804.15 a
Canada's closely watched core measures of inflation remained
tame in February, indicating little pressure for a Bank of
Canada interest rate hike.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Grant McCool)