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EnCana To Be 1st Energy Firm in Canada

Canada's biggest natural gas producer, EnCana Corp., becomes the country's biggest company by market value

Canada's biggest natural gas producer, EnCana Corp., overtook Royal Bank of Canada as the country's biggest company by market value, becoming the first energy firm to hold top spot in at least 18 years? Bloomberg reported.

EnCana shares rose C$2.09, or 3.5 percent, to C$62.10 at 4:15 p.m. trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange today, for a market value of C$53.5 billion ($45.8 billion). That tops Royal Bank, the country's biggest lender, at C$52.4 billion.

"It's been inevitable that a resource company should climb the ladder to achieve the top rung,'' said Greg Eckel, who helps manage C$800 million at Morgan Meighen & Associates in Toronto. "We'll probably see more of this.'' Morgan Meighen owns more than 100,000 shares of EnCana and holds Royal Bank stock.

A 42 percent gain in crude oil prices the past 12 months has boosted shares of EnCana and other Calgary-based producers such as Imperial Oil Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc. Four of the 10 biggest publicly traded companies in Canada are oil companies, joining banks and insurer Manulife Financial Corp.