TSX climbs on U.S. data; BlackBerry jumps

Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:49pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged higher on Friday, lifted by U.S. economic data and encouraged by the U.S. Federal Reserve's assurance this week that its monetary policy will stay easy despite a pullback of its bond-buying program.

Providing further lift was a jump in shares of BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO: Quote) after the company reported a massive quarterly loss but said it was entering a handset production deal that lowers the risk it will have to take more large writedowns on unsold smartphones.

The Fed on Wednesday cut the pace of its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion, signaling its confidence in the U.S. economic recovery, and vowed to keep interest rates lower for a longer period.

The world's biggest economy grew at its fastest pace in almost two years in the third quarter and business spending was stronger than previously estimated, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures on Friday.

"It shows the Fed's decision to commence tapering in favorable light," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver, of the economic data. "The uncertainty about tapering has been erased from the market.

"The longer the global rally continues, the better the prospects become for the TSX."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 7.40 points, or 0.06 percent, at 13,399.60, after rising as high as 13,504.33, its highest level since November 25.

The Canadian benchmark index is up about 7.7 percent this year, lagging its U.S. peers.   Continued...

People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch