January 4, 2017 / 3:35 PM / 7 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX extends 20-month high; financials, industrials rise

3 Min Read

(Adds details on specific stocks, updates prices)

* TSX rises 78.19 points, or 0.51 percent, to 15,481.22

* Nine of the TSX's 10 main groups move higher

TORONTO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose to a fresh 20-month high on Wednesday as financial and industrial shares led a broad-based rally and Encana Corp jumped on an improved outlook.

The most influential movers on the index included its biggest bank, Royal Bank of Canada, which rose 1.1 percent to C$92.50, and Encana, which gained 4.7 percent to C$16.81.

The Canadian oil and natural gas producer said it expects its margins in 2017 to exceed a previous target on lower costs and an expected rise in output in the second half of the year.

The broader energy group was slightly lower even as oil prices edged higher.

At 10:16 a.m. ET (1516 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index rose 78.19 points, or 0.51 percent, to 15,481.22.

It reached its highest since April 15, 2015. If the index breaches 15,524.75 it will hit its highest since September 2014, when it hit its record high.

Nine of the index's 10 main groups were in positive territory and advancers outnumbered decliners by more than 2-to-1.

WestJet Airlines Ltd rose 2.3 percent to C$23.60 and Canadian National Railway added 0.9 percent to C$91.32, helping the industrials sector rise 0.9 percent.

The financials group gained 0.6 percent, as insurer Manulife Financial Corp added 1 percent and most of the country's big banks pushed higher.

Investors awaited the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's December meeting, at which the central bank decided to raise interest rates, for hints on the pace of any future hikes. The minutes are due to be released at 2:00 p.m. (1900 GMT).

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.4 percent.

On the negative side of the ledger, major gold producer Barrick Gold Corp slipped 0.8 percent to C$21.87 and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc fell 2.2 percent to C$20.07. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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