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Canadian Stocks Advance as Energy Prices Boost Oil, Gas Shares

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March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks increased for a second day as rising oil and gas prices sent energy producers higher.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc. advanced at least 0.5 percent, as the price of crude rose to a three-week high. Encana Corp., the nation’s largest natural gas producer, and Crew Energy Inc., an oil and gas company, rose more than 1.4 percent as natural gas rallied to a 16-week high. Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. dropped 2.4 percent as a Salman Partners Inc. analyst lowered his rating for the stock.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 30.12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,830.03 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark Canadian equity index fell less than 0.1 percent this week, snapping a string of three weekly gains. The S&P/TSX has added 3.2 percent this year.

“The market today is reflecting higher commodity prices,” said Michael O’Brien, director and fund manager with TD Asset Management Inc. in Toronto. He manages about C$3 billion ($3 billion). “It’s been helping the gassy and oily names react positively.”

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 0.5 percent to $93.45 a barrel, as the dollar weakened and inventories fell at a major storage hub. The U.S. benchmark settled at its highest since Feb. 20. Natural gas rose 1.6 percent to $3.872 per million British thermal units on speculation that a late cold blast in the East will boost heating demand. Gas capped four straight weekly gains and settled at the highest since Nov. 23.

Energy Rallies

Energy shares rose the most in the S&P/TSX, advancing 1 percent as a group. Half of the 10 groups in the benchmark index increased. Trading volume was 55 percent higher than the 30-day average.

Canadian Natural Resources increased 0.9 percent C$33.55. Suncor Energy added 0.5 percent to C$31.67.

Encana rose 1.5 percent to C$20.73. Crew Energy increased 7.5 percent to C$7.

Colossus Minerals jumped 8.6 percent to C$3.15, and Torex Gold climbed 5.6 percent to C$1.88. Gold rose 0.1 percent to settle at $1,592.60 an ounce in New York. The metal has added 1 percent this week amid rising demand for a hedge against inflation.

Pacific Rubiales lost 2.4 percent to C$22.84 after Justin Anderson, analyst with Salman Partners, lowered the stocks rating to hold from buy and decreased his price target to C$25 from C$32.

Latin America’s largest non-state oil producer by market capitalization yesterday reported adjusted earnings of 13 cents a share, lower than the 60 cents expected from seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Lam in Toronto at elam87@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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