CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs with bank shares, set to end quarter higher

Reuters

* TSX up 37.52 points, or 0.25 percent, at 15,131.77 * Eight of 10 main index sectors advance * Mining shares follow gold, silver prices lower By John Tilak TORONTO, June 30 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Monday as strength in the financial and energy sectors helped overcome sluggish economic data and a drop in commodity prices.

Investors appeared to shrug off government figures that showed Canadian economic growth falling short of expectations in April, hurt by lower oil and gas production.

The Toronto market was on track to end higher in June and record its fourth straight quarterly advance. These gains have pushed the index near its all-time high that it hit in June 2008.

"It's another great month for the Toronto stock market. I can't remember a run this good for this long," said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

"With low interest rates, a good outlook for profits and companies swimming in cash, the earnings multiples could continue to go higher," he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 37.52 points, or 0.25 percent, at 15,131.77. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada gained 0.5 percent to C$76.41, and Toronto Dominion Bank rose 0.5 percent to C$55.11.

Shares of energy producers strengthened 0.3 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd rose 0.7 percent to C$49.17.

But the materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slipped 0.5 percent, following gold and silver prices lower. Barrick Gold Corp declined 0.7 percent to C$19.09, and Goldcorp Inc shed 0.8 percent to C$29.21.

(Editing by W Simon)

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