TSX jumps as German data lifts banks, energy

Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:58pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed almost 1 percent higher on Tuesday with financial and energy shares leading the gains after investor confidence got a shot in the arm from data showing a pick-up in German economic sentiment.

German analyst and investor sentiment soared to its highest level since April 2010, beating all expectations with a third successive increase.

News of a possible merger between Office Depot Inc, the No. 2 U.S. office supply retailer, and smaller rival OfficeMax Inc lifted U.S. stocks and also encouraged the Canadian market.

"The equity markets in Europe and the U.S. are very strong today, and Canada is getting dragged along," said Levente Mady, vice president and senior portfolio manager at PI Financial Corp.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE unofficially closed up 123.58 points, or 0.97 percent, at 12,810.21. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

"It's sentiment driven. You've seen a lot less negative news flow and that is a positive for the market," said Kevin Headland, director, portfolio advisory group, at Manulife Asset Management.

Shares of life insurer Great-West Lifeco GWO.TO were up 2.4 percent at C$27.43 after it was announced the Canadian insurer is buying state-rescued insurer Irish Life for 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in a deal that increases Great-West's presence in Ireland.

Financial shares, the index's weightiest sector, rose 1.2 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) up 1.8 percent at C$64.43, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) gaining 1.3 percent to C$83.84.   Continued...

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