TSX gains with energy stocks as oil surges

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s energy sector gave its main stock index a boost on Monday, bolstered by a rally in crude oil prices ahead of an OPEC meeting next week.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Oil rose 3 percent to its highest in three weeks as Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic charm offensive to persuade the cartel’s more reluctant members to join its proposed output cut raised hopes for a deal.

The most influential movers on the index included Suncor Energy Inc, which rose 2.2 percent to C$42.71, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, up 2 percent to C$43.93.

Both major oil producers have gained around 9 percent since Nov. 11.

The energy group climbed 2.3 percent, with Encana Corp advancing 3.9 percent to C$16.40.

Shares in TransAlta Corp, the country’s largest operator of coal-fired plants, declined 1.8 percent to C$5.52.

Canada announced on Monday it will virtually eliminate the use of traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030.

Around 10:30 a.m. EDT (1526 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose 116.14 points, or 0.78 percent, to 14,980.17.

Eight of the index’s 10 main groups were in positive territory, with five advancers for every decliner.

The financials group gained 0.4 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada up 1 percent to C$88.11, while industrials rose 0.7 percent.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1 percent as copper and gold prices both pushed higher.

U.S. crude prices were up 2.4 percent to $46.80 a barrel, while Brent added 2.8 percent to $48.17.

Canadian wholesale trade unexpectedly fell 1.2 percent in September from August, dropping for the first time in six months after a series of strong gains, Statistics Canada data indicated on Monday.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Dan Grebler