CANADA STOCKS-Resource stocks stoke TSX gains
* Stock index up 49.73 points, or 0.39 pct, at 12,849.64 * Energy stocks lead the way * Mining, consumer issues also strong By Cameron French TORONTO, March 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was modestly higher on Friday as rising commodity prices pushed up energy and mining shares while consumer stocks were helped by strong U.S. data. The index's heavily weighted energy subgroup, which was the main boost to the Canadian market on Thursday, continued to play the role on Friday, gaining 0.95 percent as crude prices were lifted by strong U.S. industrial production data. EnCana Corp gave the biggest upward push to the group, rising 1.7 percent to C$20.77, while Husky Energy climbed 1.7 percent to C$30.53. Mining stocks, which have been a weight on the TSX so far this year, rose 0.25 percent as copper and gold prices charted modest gains on the back of weakness in the U.S. dollar. Iamgold led the group, rising 2.6 percent to C$7.03, while Yamana Gold increased 1.0 percent to C$15.06. "The energy stocks have been good of late. As a sector they have broken out to the upside. Now if we can get the golds going, that would really help the market," said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities in Toronto. At mid-morning, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 49.73 points, or 0.39 percent, at 12,849.64. Seven of the 10 TSX subgroups were higher. In a reversal of the pattern of recent sessions, the Canadian market was outperforming the U.S. S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average, which were down 0.27 percent and 0.33 percent, respectively. The TSX has traded more or less sideways over the past two months, while U.S. markets have pushed steadily higher. "We have a little catch-up to do with the Americans... (but) I think the direction maybe is still up," Kinsey said. The index's consumer discretionary subgroup gained 0.68 percent, as media and retail stocks benefited from the strong U.S. data. Thomson Reuters rose 3.0 percent to C$32.96, while Canadian Tire Corp rose 1.3 percent to C$69.86. Telecommunications conglomerate Quebecor Inc rose 3.3 percent to C$45.09, rebounding from a sharp drop on Thursday after the company said Chief Executive Pierre Karl Peladeau was stepping down. Weighing on the market were information technology stocks. The group slid 0.4 percent, led by BlackBerry, which was down 1.1 percent at C$15.31.
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