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By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday, helped by gains for the utilities and energy sectors, but sentiment remained fragile as U.S. stocks flirted with territory that would confirm a bear market.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 15.69 points, or 0.1%, at 20,197.61, after clawing back earlier losses. For the week, the index was up 0.5%, ending a streak of seven straight weekly declines.
"It feels that people are in give-up mode which is what you need to see for some capitulation selling in the market," said Greg Taylor, a portfolio manager at Purpose Investments. "Markets are looking overdue for some bounce."
U.S. benchmark the S&P 500 fell at one point over 20% from its Jan. 3 record high close before closing with a very slight gain. Closing down 20% from that record level would confirm the index has entered a bear market.
"We are starting to see some positives with (bond) yields starting to pull back a little bit in the U.S," Taylor said.
The U.S. 10-year yield has fallen about 40 basis points from a 3.2% peak it touched earlier this month. Investors have worried that higher borrowing costs will clip economic growth.
Utilities, which tend to benefit from lower bond yields, rose 0.9%, while the consumer staples sector added 0.7%.
The price of oil, one of Canada's major exports, settled 0.9% higher at $113.23 a barrel as a planned European Union ban on Russian oil countered growth concerns. That helped boost the Toronto market's energy sector, which gained 0.5%.
Technology was a drag, falling 0.3%. It included a decline of 7.1% for e-commerce giant Shopify Inc.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost nearly 1%.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto; Additional reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis)