China helps TSX posts biggest gain in 6 weeks

Mon Apr 2, 2012 5:08pm EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index notched its biggest gain in nearly six weeks on Monday after upbeat Chinese and U.S. manufacturing data trumped further signs of economic weakness in Europe.

China's official Purchasing Managers' Index hit an 11-month high, while data from the U.S. Institute for Supply Management showed the pace of growth in the manufacturing sector picked up even as measures of new orders and exports eased.

Canada's resource-heavy stock index outperformed Wall Street as the brighter news from China in particular helped calm worries about demand prospects in the world's second-largest economy.

The materials stock sector was up 1.6 percent, energy shares rose 1.2 percent and financials added 0.6 percent.

"It probably reinforces the fact that China is heading for a soft landing and not some kind of hard landing that is going to disrupt global growth," said Robert Kavcic, economist at BMO Capital Markets.

"Overall, it's pretty clear that there's a move into cyclical sectors of the equity market today and that's no doubt helped by the economic data."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 114.88 points, or 0.93 percent, at 12,507.06, its biggest one-day jump since February 21. Eight of the ten sectors were in positive territory, with health care and technology lagging.

Among the most influential climbers, Royal Bank of Canada rose 1.6 percent to C$58.74, Suncor Energy advanced 1.9 percent to C$33.20 and Canadian Natural Resources was up 2.1 percent to C$33.75.   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch