TORONTO, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Canada's main stock market rebounded Friday as energy and gold shares lifted market sentiment after the U.S. government decided to conduct air strikes in Iraq.
Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 77.88 points or 0.52 percent to 15,196.31 points.
Following a three-day consecutive drop this week, the energy sector rallied 1.74 percent Friday, after U.S. President Barack Obama authorized targeted air strikes against Islamist rebels in Iraq.
Oil and gas giants Canadian Natural Resources Limited added 2. 86 percent to 46.10 Canadian dollars (about 42.02 U.S. dollars) and Encana Corporation advanced 2.37 percent to 23.80 Canadian dollars per share.
Gold shares, the sub-group of the mining sector, extended gains with its S&P/TSX Global Gold Index rising 2.2 percent this week, when geopolitical tensions pushed up gold demand to defend the risk of their investment portfolio.
"Geopolitical turmoil in Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine is keeping gold prices higher. U.S. tightening policy seems to be already incorporated in the prices," said Elena M. Kazimirova, financial analyst with China Gold International Resources Corp. Ltd.
Kazimirova told Xinhua that gold price seems to have found stability around the 1,300-U.S. dollar-per-ounce mark, and " historically second half of the year is often positive for gold prices due to the increasing demand from the two largest consumers: China and India."
Meanwhile, healthcare shares logged the biggest gain in TSX sectors by 2.31 percent with drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International rising 2.74 percent to 119.82 Canadian dollars.
However, financials, the most heavily weighed sector, was down 0.33 percent when the country's biggest lender Royal Bank of Canada losing 0.54 percent to 78.96 Canadian dollars per share.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that overall employment was unchanged in July, and a decline in the number of people searching for work pushed the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to 7.0 percent.
On the currency front, the Canadian dollar went down Friday to 0.9115 U.S. dollar from 0.9157 U.S. dollar Thursday.