TSX climbs as U.S. jobs data, Valeant support

Wed Jan 8, 2014 4:54pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Wednesday as shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO: Quote) jumped and positive U.S. jobs data fueled gains in several major sectors.

The gains were offset a little by a decline in shares of Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO: Quote) after a CN train carrying crude oil and propane derailed and caught fire in New Brunswick on Tuesday night, according to federal safety officials.

Investors digested a bullish U.S. private jobs report, ahead of nonfarm payrolls data set for release on Friday.

Figures from payrolls processor ADP on Wednesday showed U.S. private employers added a more jobs than expected in December, posting the strongest increase in 13 months.

"Those numbers continue to be in the sweet spot, and that's exactly what investors need to keep the rally going," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

But investors don't want too robust a report on Friday, he added. "If those numbers blow past estimates, that's going to cause real concern about how quickly the Fed will taper."

The U.S. Federal Reserve's path to unwind its monetary stimulus program has stayed on top of investors' radar screens, and on Wednesday minutes from a recent policy meeting showed Fed officials looking to approach the process very cautiously.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index traded in positive territory for a second straight day after declining in the first three sessions of 2014. The market recorded a 9.6 percent gain in 2013.   Continued...

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