(Adds portfolio manager quotes, details on Manulife)
* TSX ends up 21.13 points, or 0.14 percent, at 15,218.31
* Gain follows sharpest fall in a month on Wednesday
* Six of the index's 10 main groups rise
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, Dec 15 Canada's main stock index rose
on Thursday, helped by broad gains for financial stocks a day
after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates and struck a
hawkish note on further increases, a move which weighed on
Canadian gold miners.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
closed up 21.13 points, or 0.14 percent, at 15,218.31,
while U.S. stocks continued to hover near record levels as
investors viewed the Fed's interest rate outlook as a sign of
confidence in the economy.
"As long as the consumer remains healthy and we're having
wage inflation, the U.S. economy should remain quite strong,"
said Ben Jang, portfolio manager at Nicola Wealth Management.
"Generally the equity markets can easily absorb rates rising
to a certain point."
The financials group gained 0.8 percent as bond yields
extended their climb since the U.S. election. Higher yields
reduce the value of insurance companies' liabilities and
increase net interest margins of banks.
Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.9 percent to C$91.49 and
Toronto-Dominion Bank added 1.1 percent to C$66.51.
A strategy to tap debt markets outside of Canada enabled
Manulife to complete its biggest round of financing for
seven years during 2016, its chief financial officer said.
Shares of the country's largest life insurer gained 2.6
percent to C$25.01.
Energy stocks added 0.5 percent as oil settled little
changed after sliding to its lowest level in a week in volatile
trade, while Bombardier jumped 2.1 percent to C$1.95
after saying growth in its rail business and the ramp-up of the
C Series aircraft program should help boost full-year
consolidated revenue in 2017 by a low single-digit percentage.
Six of the index's 10 main groups gained ground. The index
had its sharpest fall in a month in the prior session.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals
miners and fertilizer companies, dropped 2.2 percent, with
Barrick Gold Corp falling 4.4 percent to C$18.68 and
Yamana Gold Inc down 5.9 percent at C$3.51.
Gold fell more than 1 percent to a 10-1/2-month low
as higher bond yields lifted the opportunity cost of holding the
non-yielding precious metal and the U.S. dollar surged to a
Supermarket owner Empire Co Ltd fell 17 percent to
C$15.52 after reporting a sharp miss on quarterly profit as
same-store sales fell.
Canadian manufacturing sales unexpectedly fell 0.8 percent
in October from September on widespread weakness, indicating
fourth-quarter growth could be sluggish.
(Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Paul Simao
and Phil Berlowitz)