By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Wednesday as heavyweight financial stocks rose ahead of the start of U.S. earnings season and investors weighed comments by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
Some of the most influential movers on the index were the country's major banks. Royal Bank of Canada rose nearly 1 percent to C$93.89 and Bank of Nova Scotia climbed 0.9 percent to C$77.68, while the financials group rose 0.7 percent.
"There is a lot of optimism in financials with the increase in interest rates and the potential for lower financial regulation," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at StennerZohny Investment Partners of Richardson GMP.
The move higher in bond yields since the U.S. election has reduced the value of insurance companies' liabilities and increased net interest margins of banks.
"I think a lot of investors are really waiting for earnings season to kick off in the U.S. on Friday. At this point markets seem to be kind of stuck, waiting for some momentum either way," Zohny said.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE> closed up 65.26 points, or 0.42 percent, at 15,491.54.
On Thursday, it touched its highest since September 2014 at 15,621.40.
Plane and train maker Bombardier Inc advanced 4.9 percent to C$2.59 after a consortium in which it has a 30 percent stake won a 1.16 billion euro contract to supply commuter trains for the Paris region.
The overall industrials group rose 0.8 percent as railroad stocks also gained ground.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, gained 0.7 percent, with Teck Resources climbing 6.6 percent to C$31.60 and First Quantum Minerals Ltd rising 3.7 percent to C$16.45 even as copper prices slipped from a four-week high.
Gold rose to a seven-week high, but gold mining stocks fell.
Five of the index's 10 main groups ended higher.
The healthcare group fell more than 3 percent, with Valeant Pharmaceutical International Inc tumbling 6.9 percent to C$20.31. Losses for healthcare came as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said pharmaceutical companies were "getting away with murder" by charging high prices.
The energy group dipped 0.1 percent even as oil prices rose for the first time in three days following news of Saudi supply cuts to Asia. [O/R]
U.S. crude oil futures settled $1.43 higher at $52.25 a barrel.
Corus Entertainment Inc fell 3.0 percent to C$12.87 after the media company's profit missed expectations.
(Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Paul Simao and Tom Brown)