(Corrects in 10th paragraph that Royal Bank of Canada closed at
C$96.17, not C$96.25)
* TSX ends up 63.26 points, or 0.41 percent, at 15,617.30
* Index posts its highest close since Jan. 25
* Seven of TSX's 10 main groups end higher
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, Feb 9 Canada's main stock index rose on
Thursday to its highest close in two weeks, nearing an all-time
peak, as higher oil prices and the prospect of U.S. tax cuts
helped trigger gains for heavyweight energy and financial
U.S. President Donald Trump said he would be releasing a
"phenomenal" tax plan in the next few weeks, reviving bets for
pro-growth policies from the new administration.
"If he cuts corporate taxes ... it would obviously be very
positive for a lot of companies south of the border and
hopefully fuel growth," said Manash Goswami, portfolio manager
at First Asset Investment Management Inc.
"We continue to put capital to work, we continue to favor
cyclical sectors over more defensive sectors."
Cyclical sectors, such as financials, industrials and
technology tend to benefit most from a pickup in economic
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
ended up 63.26 points, or 0.41 percent, at 15,617.30,
its highest close since Jan. 25 and back in reach of its
September 2014 record peak of 15,685.13.
Recent better corporate earnings and economic data have
pushed the market higher, Goswami said.
Suncor Energy Inc, Canada's largest oil and gas
company, climbed 2.4 percent to C$41.47 after it reported a
larger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday.
The overall energy group gained 2.3 percent, while U.S.
crude oil futures settled 66 cents higher at $53.00 a
barrel after an unexpected draw in U.S. gasoline inventories
pointed to higher demand in the world's biggest oil market.
The financials group rose 0.6 percent as bond yields
climbed, with Royal Bank of Canada up 0.8 percent at
Higher bond yields increase net interest margins of banks
and reduce the value of insurance companies' liabilities.
Manulife Financial Corp reversed earlier gains to
fall 0.5 percent to C$24.45. Canada's biggest insurer met a
long-held target to achieve an annual profit of C$4 billion in
Just three of the index's 10 main groups ended lower, with
the materials group, which includes precious and base metals
miners and fertilizer companies, declining 1.3 percent as gold
and copper prices fell.
Gold futures fell 0.6 percent to $1,230.7 an ounce
and copper prices declined 1.2 percent to $5,822 a
News and information company Thomson Reuters Corp
reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit
but missed expectations on revenue. Its shares fell 3.3 percent
Telus Corp fell 2.3 percent to C$43.14 after it
reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by James Dalgleish and