Toronto market notches April gain as energy shares climb

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange sign in Toronto

By Fergal Smith

(Reuters) -Canada's main stock index rose on Friday, adding to its monthly gain, as higher oil prices boosted energy shares and domestic economic data supported the Bank of Canada's plans to keep interest rates on hold.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 113.90 points, or 0.6%, at 20,636.54. For the week, it was down 0.3% but it still ended higher for April, advancing 2.7%.

U.S. stock indexes also rose after strong earnings updates from some major companies.

"The big story this week was earnings. We have seen pockets of strength in the TSX, but overall, it's been quite choppy trading," said Brandon Michael, senior analyst at ABC Funds.

The Canadian economy grew 0.1% in February from the previous month, less than expected, and is seen shrinking in March, data showed.

"With GDP growth tracking weak momentum into Q2, the BoC isn't expected to hike interest rates again," Nathan Janzen, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said in a note.

The energy sector rose 2.6% on Friday as oil settled 2.7% higher at $76.78 a barrel.

TC Energy Corp added 2.1%, after beating analysts' estimates for first-quarter profit as higher energy prices boosted demand for the pipeline operator's services.

Heavily weighted financials added 0.5% and industrials were up 0.7%, led by a 7.5% rise in the shares of GFL Environmental Inc after the environmental services company beat first-quarter profit estimates.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, was among sectors that declined. It ended 0.5% lower.

(Reporting Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio)