TSX gains muted by energy stocks; banks, miners shine

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday, but by less than its U.S. peers, as investors bet on rate hikes sooner south of the border and lower oil prices weighed on the commodity-rich TSX.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS

Financial stocks were among the most influential gainers on the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE as investors took signals from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers including Chair Janet Yellen as evidence of economic resilience in Canada's main trading partner.

The Canadian index closed up 42.13 points, or 0.29 percent, at 14,682.01, while two of the three main U.S. indexes gained more than half a percent. The U.S. dollar and Treasury yields also rose [.N][USD/]

With the Canadian central bank more likely to cut or hold as the Fed preps for a hike, high-yielding Canadian stocks may stay in vogue, said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.

“To the extent that rates remain low for longer domestically, that could make those higher-yielding sectors attractive to investors for perhaps longer than will be the case in the States,” he said, highlighting utilities and to lesser degree telecom companies.

BCE Inc BCE.TO, the country's largest telecom company, rose 1 percent to C$62.25.

The energy group, which accounts for one-fifth of the index’s weight, lost 0.2 percent as oil prices fell due to high output from Middle Eastern producers and a stronger U.S. dollar, in which the commodity is priced. [O/R]

Suncor Energy SU.TO, the country's largest producer, retreated 0.9 percent to C$36.14.

Pipeline companies also lost ground, with Enbridge Inc ENB.TO down 0.8 percent at C$51.56 and Pembina Pipeline Corp PPL.TO off 0.3 percent at C$39.56. U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled down 1.4 percent at $46.98.

Half of the index’s 10 main groups ended higher, with advancers and decliners almost equally split overall.

Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO rose 1.3 percent to C$58.06, and Brookfield Asset Management Inc BAMa.TO gained 1.4 percent to C$44.39.

The heavyweight financial sector, up 0.5 percent overall, produced a string of encouraging bank earnings reports last week. The materials group, which includes precious and base metal miners and fertilizer companies, gained 1.2 percent.

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd IVN.TO jumped 14.4 percent to C$1.91 after it said it planned to hire an investment bank to review expressions of interest the company and its projects have received.

Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO rose 8 percent to C$22.41.

Major gold miners also pushed the sector higher even as prices of the metal slid to a nearly five-week low. [GOL/]

Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Matthew Lewis