TSX hits one-week high on strong overseas data, Manulife

Fri Feb 8, 2013 4:40pm EST
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian stocks hit a one-week high on Friday, led by financial and energy shares, as positive economic data from China, Europe and the United States offset weak domestic numbers and as Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO: Quote) rose on reaction to its results.

China's exports and imports surged in January, the country's first hard data of the year showed, pointing to robust domestic demand and a pick-up in the economy.

That more than offset news that Canada's economy unexpectedly shed 21,900 jobs in January, delivering a reality check after months of outsized employment growth, and confirming forecasts of slowing economic expansion.

"I think the next couple of weeks now you'll see the Canadian market react to the specific earnings, more so than the overall economic picture," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities, noting volumes were very light on Friday because of the snowstorm hitting Canada and the U.S. Northeast.

Manulife, which reported a return to quarterly profit on Thursday, was one of the most influential stocks in leading the market higher. The insurer extended the modest gain it made on Thursday after several analysts raised their price targets for the stock. Manulife shares were up 2 percent at C$14.84.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) rose 0.7 percent to C$83.43.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 45.31 points, or 0.36 percent, at 12,801.23, after touching 12,823.50, its highest point since January 30. The TSX ended the week up 0.3 percent.

The index was not riding as high as its counterparts on Wall Street, with the Nasdaq at a 12-year closing high and the S&P 500 index at a five-year peak. .N   Continued...

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