TSX rises as energy shares and CP Rail gain

Wed Dec 5, 2012 5:23pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index nudged higher on Wednesday, as investors cheered a cost-cutting plan at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO: Quote) and energy stocks rose on optimism about Chinese growth, while gold miners fell.

Canadian Pacific Railway gained 4.1 percent to C$96.82 after the country's second-biggest railroad said it plans to cut 4,500 jobs by 2016 as part of a drive by its new chief executive to slash costs.

"This is what shareholders have been looking for. This is what they have been hoping - that CP will face the challenges that they have. The new CEO is making his mark," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 20.11 points, or 0.17 percent, at 12,157.29.

Energy stocks notched the broadest gains as hopes about China's economic growth were bolstered after Communist Party chief Xi Jinping said the country's leaders will maintain their fine-tuning of economic policies in 2013.

Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) gained 1.3 percent to C$32.68, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO: Quote) advanced 1.3 percent to C$27.78.

"There are expectations of better global growth, driven by ongoing U.S. budget talks and speculation that the Chinese economy is turning around for the better," said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"There is also some degree of takeover speculation. Many Canadian energy producers are trading at pretty attractive valuations. The M&A activity in the U.S. certainly points to the attractiveness of energy assets in North America," Picardo said.   Continued...

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