(New throughout, updates prices and market activity, adds
comment from portfolio manager, details on Canadian Natural
* TSX closes up 18.48 points, or 0.12 percent, at 15,476.94
* Four of the TSX's 10 main groups rise
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, May 23 Canada's main stock index rose
on Tuesday, bolstered by bank stocks ahead of the release of
earnings reports and a surge in BlackBerry Ltd shares,
as trading resumed a day after the Victoria Day holiday.
The heavily weighted financials group rose 0.7 percent, as
investors braced for earnings reports this week from major
Bank of Nova Scotia climbed 0.9 percent to C$76.17
and Toronto Dominion Bank gained 0.8 percent to C$63.57.
"The banks are up today on the expectation of a solid Q2,"
said Cavan Yie, portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.
Yie expects loan growth, credit quality and capital markets
activity to be supportive of bank earnings in the second quarter
but is cautious about the outlook for earnings growth due to
elevated house prices and household debt.
BlackBerry jumped 8.8 percent to C$15.27 as investors raised
expectations that the technology company's cyber security and
automotive software sectors will post strong growth, an analyst
This month's global "ransomware" attack, dubbed WannaCry,
has raised awareness of BlackBerry's security software business,
while Ford Motor Co said late Friday it would start using
an "over the air" system to update software on its interactive
touchscreen system, which runs on BlackBerry software.
The information technology group rose 1.1 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
closed up 18.48 points, or 0.12 percent, at 15,476.94.
Just four of the index's 10 main groups rose, while resource
shares were among those that weighed.
The energy group retreated 0.8 percent even as oil prices
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd declined 1.7 percent
to C$41.28. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has decided to
offload a roughly C$4.1 billion stake in the company that it
acquired as part of a deal to retreat from Canada's oil sands
earlier this year, people familiar with the situation told
U.S. crude oil prices settled 34 cents higher at
$51.47 a barrel as expectations of an extension to OPEC-led
supply cuts overshadowed a White House proposal to sell half of
U.S. petroleum reserves.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals
miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.2 percent as gold stocks
lost some ground.
Gold futures fell 0.8 percent to $1,250.6 an ounce as
traders locked in profits after two weeks of gains.
(Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by James
Dalgleish and David Gregorio)