TSX notches biggest gain in two months as oil rebounds

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index notched its biggest advance in more than two months on Friday as commodity prices, especially oil, rebounded from losses earlier this week, while better-than-expected U.S. jobs growth boosted sentiment on Wall Street.

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

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 185.34 points, or 1.2 percent, at 15,582.04, its biggest gain since March 1. It left the index nearly unchanged for the week after it posted on Thursday its lowest close in six weeks.

“The market is feeling a little bit more buoyant than it was for most of the week,” said Peggy Bowie, senior trader at Manulife Asset Management. “We are seeing a bounce back in commodities.”

U.S. crude oil futures settled up 1.5 percent at $46.22 a barrel, rebounding from five-month lows, on assurances by Saudi Arabia that Russia is ready to join OPEC in extending supply cuts to reduce a persistent glut.

Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO climbed 1.9 percent to C$42.56, while TransCanada Corp TRP.TO, which reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, rose 2 percent to C$63.93.

Tourmaline Oil added 6.3 percent to C$27.69 after it reported strong quarterly earnings on Thursday.

The overall energy group gained 3 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.4 percent.

Copper prices CMCU3 advanced 0.8 percent to $5,584.85 a tonne and gold futures GCc1 rose 0.1 percent to $1,228 an ounce.

All of the index’s 10 main groups ended higher. Recent solid corporate earnings and a cheaper Canadian dollar encouraged investors to dip their toes back in the market, Bowie said.

The loonie recovered some ground after hitting a fresh 14-month low at C$1.3793.

Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO, rose nearly 2 percent to C$76.63, while the heavyweight financials group ended up 0.9 percent.

Non-bank mortgage lender Home Capital Group HCG.TO got a boost after it announced that Alan Hibbens would replace co-founder Gerald Soloway on its board. But the shares reversed course to end 2.7 percent lower at $5.85, holding just above the 13-year low it had plunged to last week at $5.68.

Great-West Lifeco Inc GWO.TO fell 5.5 percent to C$34.47 as CIBC cut its target price on the stock. The financial services company had reported earnings on Thursday.

Air Canada AC.TO, which reported a narrower-than-expected loss on Friday, saw its shares rise nearly 9 percent to C$13.94.

Additional reporting by Solarina Ho Editing by W Simon and Cynthia Osterman