TSX gains on miners, possible Maple Leaf bake sale

Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:33pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed higher on Monday for a fifth straight session, as shares of Maple Leaf Foods Inc (MFI.TO: Quote) jumped after the company said it may sell its bakery business and as banking and gold mining stocks climbed.

The gains extended a two-year peak for the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE that was hit last week on signs of Chinese economic growth and after the U.S. government reopened following a partial shutdown.

"Growth in China will help," said Douglas Davis, chief executive at investment manager Davis-Rea. "It seems to be picking up."

The index closed up 50.44 points, or 0.38 percent, at 13,186.53.

Investors have been particularly buoyed by expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will have to maintain its accommodative monetary stimulus for longer due to the damage to the economy caused by the government shutdown.

"As long as tapering is avoided the outlook for Canada stays quite good," Davis said. "But as soon as tapering happens we will probably get kicked a little bit."

Shares of Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) gained 2.7 percent to C$25.73 and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) added 2.4 percent to C$19.53; both were among the five most positive impacts on the index.

The gold-mining sector has struggled recently - both Goldcorp and Barrick are down more than 25 percent this year - leading to underperformance for the TSX versus U.S. and other indexes.   Continued...

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