Gold miners, Bernanke push TSX higher

Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:34pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian stocks ended the week on a positive note, boosted by a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that kept stimulus hopes alive and as the soaring price of bullion helped gold miners.

Bernanke stopped short of giving a clear signal the U.S. central bank would soon act but investors bet that his language made another round of bond-buying, known as quantitative easing, more likely.

"QE is arguably very good for risk assets like equities, but also QE would have a not terribly indirect impact on commodities," said Stephen Wood, chief investment strategist at Russell Investments in New York.

Bullion hit a five-month high after the speech, helping Toronto-listed gold miners punch higher. <GOL/>

Major players Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) and Goldcorp Inc G.TO each gained more than 3 percent, Yamana Gold Inc (YRI.TO: Quote) jumped 4.3 percent and a slew of juniors jumped even more.

Oil and copper prices also rose, lending support to the energy and materials companies that make up a large portion of the Canadian exchange.

Athabasca Oil Corp (ATH.TO: Quote) jumped 8.6 percent to C$13.58 after a newspaper reported Kuwait's state-controlled oil company had agreed to invest $4 billion in a joint venture in the northern Alberta oil sands.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE gained 62.61 points, or 0.53 percent, to close at 11,949.26. The index still notched a loss on the week but gained 2.44 percent over the course of August in very thin volumes.   Continued...

People walk past an electronic board displaying the midday TSX index in Toronto February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch