TSX touches 2-1/2-year high on China data, BlackBerry

Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:50pm EST
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By John Tilak and Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Monday to reach its highest in 2-1/2 years as shares of smartphone maker BlackBerry jumped and bullish economic data from China helped drive gains in every major sector.

Investors were encouraged by data that showed China's economy grew 7.7 percent in 2013. The gain was flat from 2012 but above market expectations for 7.6 percent expansion.

BlackBerry shot up 8.2 percent as the short position in the stock waned and after a Pentagon announcement last week indicating the company's devices were a core part of its mobile strategy.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX index, which has risen in nine of the last 10 sessions, is up about 2.7 percent this year.

"There's some optimism out there. The confidence is coming back slowly, which is a good sign," said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management.

"A lot of investors are probably treading water and taking positive news from China," he added.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 102.08 points, or 0.74 percent, at 13,990.29, its highest level since mid 2011.

After lagging the S&P 500 .SPX in 2013, the TSX has so far this year outperformed U.S. stock markets, which were closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. That weighed on trading volume.   Continued...

An electronic board displays the midday TSX index in Toronto February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch