* TSX rises 31.02 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,528.00.
* Seven of the TSX's 10 main groups climb
TORONTO, March 9 Canada's main stock index edged
higher on Thursday as Canadian Natural Resources led a
rebound in energy shares after sharp losses the day before, and
the materials group gained ground.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc agreed to sell its existing
and undeveloped Canadian oil sands interests to Canadian Natural
Resources and to cut its share in the Athabasca Oil Sands
Project from 60 percent to 10 percent.
Shares of Canadian Natural Resources rose more than 8
percent to C$42.64, while the overall energy group advanced 1.4
percent even as oil prices fell.
U.S. crude was down 1.4 percent at $49.56 a barrel,
extending recent losses as record inventories kept sentiment
Despite Thursday's gains, the energy group has fallen nearly
11 percent since the start of the year. On Wednesday, it posted
its lowest close since September.
The materials group added 0.7 percent on Thursday as gains
for fertilizer shares offset lower metal prices.
Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc rose 4.3 percent to
C$23.82, and merger partner Agrium Inc gained nearly 4
percent to C$132.59.
Gold futures fell 0.2 percent to $1,205.60 an ounce,
while copper prices declined 1.3 percent to $5,693.5 a
At 11:09 a.m. EST (1605 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 31.02 points, or 0.2
percent, at 15,528.00.
Seven of the index's 10 main groups advanced. The
heavyweight financials group edged up 0.1 percent as bond yields
climbed after upbeat comments by European Central Bank President
Mario Draghi on the economy there.
Higher bond yields reduce the value of insurance companies'
liabilities and increase net interest margins of banks.
Dorel Industries Inc tumbled 9.6 percent to
C$31.23 after the global consumer products company reported
Canada's industrial capacity rose to its highest level in
two years in the fourth quarter, lifted by gains in the mining
and quarrying sector and a rebound in construction, data from
Statistics Canada showed.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)