CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs as Fed reassures markets

Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:07am EDT

* TSX rises 55.21 points, or 0.39 percent, to 14,315.93
    * Nine of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Index on track for ninth straight monthly gain
    * Encana slips after news of asset sale
    * Martinrea jumps after saying CEO to leave

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
advanced on Monday as the Federal Reserve's reassurance of its
support for the U.S. economy built investor confidence and
helped push up the market's financial and energy sectors.
    Investors were also encouraged by data showing the Canadian
economy rebounded more strongly than expected in January from a
decline in December. 
    The Toronto stock market's benchmark index was on track to
record its ninth straight monthly gain. It has advanced about 5
percent this quarter, making it one of the strongest performers
among major global indexes. 
    Fed Chair Janet Yellen said measures by the U.S. central
bank to boost the economy will be necessary for some time to
come. 
    "We've got a steady hand on the wheel," said David
Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland
Wealth Management. Yellen "will try to set policy so interest
rates will drift upwards very gradually," he added.
    "I see sideways movement for the U.S. market and more upward
potential for Canadian markets," said Cockfield, who expects the
TSX to outperform the S&P 500 index this year. "I can't
see things taking off like a rocket, but I can see steady
progress."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 55.21 points, or 0.39 percent, at 14,315.93.
    Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
climbed 0.7 percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 0.7
percent to C$72.94, and Bank of Nova Scotia advanced
0.9 percent to C$64.19.
    Shares of energy producers shrugged off declines in the
price of oil. Suncor Energy Inc was up 0.8 percent at
C$38.50.
    In corporate news, Encana Corp said it would sell
some natural gas assets in Wyoming's Jonah field to a TPG
Capital affiliate for about $1.8 billion. Encana shares slipped
0.5 percent to C$23.59.
    Martinrea International Inc jumped 14.1 percent to
C$10.01 after the auto parts maker said that Nick Orlando will
step down as the company's president and chief executive
officer.
    ($1=$1.10 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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