By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday to its highest closing level in six weeks as commodity prices climbed and technology shares rallied, with the index adding to recent outperformance against U.S. markets.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 148.9 points, or 0.7%, at 20,360.10, its highest closing level since Dec. 2. For the week, the index advanced 2.8%.
U.S. stocks also finished higher but the gains were more modest as banks kicked off earnings season for the fourth quarter.
"Canada is hanging in a little better because of the strength in the commodities," said Greg Taylor, portfolio manager at Purpose Investments. "We're seeing a nice move higher in gold and some of the other commodities."
The energy sector rose 0.5%, adding to this week's sharp gains, as U.S. crude futures settled 1.9% higher at $79.86 a barrel on hopes of less aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve and signs of demand growth in top oil importer China.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.4% as the price of gold moved to a fresh multi-month high above $1,900 per ounce.
The group has advanced 8.5% since the start of the year, while the TSX has advanced 5% compared with 4.2% for the S&P 500, a major U.S. benchmark.
The TSX's 50-day moving average moved closer to crossing above its 200-day moving average, which would be a bullish technical signal known as a Golden Cross.
The technology group rose 1.8% on Friday, while heavily weighted financials ended 0.8% higher.
Shares of Cogeco Communications were a drag, falling 10.7% after the company trimmed its annual revenue outlook.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto; Additional reporting by Shristi Achar A and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis)