August 22, 2013 / 1:46 PM / in 4 years

Economic data spurs TSX to biggest jump in 2 weeks

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index recorded its biggest daily percentage gain in two weeks after strong economic data from China, Europe and the United States fed optimism about the global economy.

The brighter economic outlook boosted commodity prices and fueled a spike in shares of metals and mining companies. Most of the other major sectors, including the financial and energy groups, also advanced.

Manufacturing activity climbed to its highest in months in both the United States and China, while it topped expectations in Europe.

Additional data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits last week held near a six-year low.

Investors, who have been fixated on what the U.S. Federal Reserve might do next, were encouraged by the economic numbers.

“The attention is starting to shift more to the economic data,” said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners, a unit of Richardson GMP. “Recent data has been more positive, and it has been helping the cyclical areas of the market.”

“The fact that we’ve seen some stabilization in commodity prices and in commodity producers shows that investors are seeing some value,” he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 101.27 points, or 0.81 percent, at 12,674.35.

Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Stronger oil prices helped energy producers climb almost 1 percent. Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) gained 1.5 percent to $35.38 and had the biggest positive influence on the market.

Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, advanced 0.5 percent. Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO) added 0.7 percent to C$87.97, and Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) gained 2.2 percent to C$17.49.

The sharpest jump came from the materials sector, which includes mining stocks. The group added 2.3 percent.

Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO was up 4 percent to C$27.33, and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) rose 3.1 percent to C$20.57.

Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer, also benefited from news that it agreed to sell three of its high-cost gold mines in Australia to Gold Fields Ltd (GFIJ.J) for $300 million.

Industrials advanced 1.6 percent, with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO) rising 3.6 percent to C$128.33.

Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by David Gregorio

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