CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on China data, Suncor earnings
* TSX up 58.98 pts, or 0.5 pct, to 12,351.67 * Highest level since Apr. 3 * Energy, materials lead gains * China, U.S. PMI data boost commodities * Suncor, Cameco post strong results By Jon Cook TORONTO, May 1 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks were on track for their fifth straight gain on Tuesday as resource firms rose on better manufacturing data from China and the United States and solid earnings from oil industry heavyweight Suncor Energy . Worries about global growth eased on Tuesday after data showed manufacturing activity in China and the United States rose in April, easing concerns the world's largest economies had lost momentum. The pace of manufacturing growth in Canada also advanced at its strongest rate of the year in April as business conditions improved for a third straight month, data showed on Tuesday. The Chinese PMI, which rose to its highest level in 13 months, was seen having the largest impact on Canadian stocks. "This is the number that shows that the biggest consumer of our commodity goods is back to growth," said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services. "We could see the commodity stocks, which have let us down for the past 12 months, become the winners." Seven of 10 main sectors in the index were higher, led by the energy group, which rose 1.4 percent. Heavily-weighted materials were also up 0.7 percent. The most influential gainers included Suncor, up 1.4 percent to C$33.09, Canadian Oil Sands, up 5.8 percent to C$23.09, Cenovus Energy, up 1.7 percent at C$36.44, Canadian Natural Resources, which climbed 0.9 percent to C$34.64, and Teck Resources, up 1.5 percent to C$37.40. Around noon (1600 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 58.98 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,351.67, its highest level since April 3. Energy shares were also boosted by strong earnings from Suncor. After markets closed on Monday, the country's top oil producer reported first-quarter operating profit that topped forecasts, driven largely by better-than-expected production results. It also raised its quarterly dividend. "Suncor's number was very strong," said Schwartz. "An 18-percent dividend increase shows strong confidence from management." Schwartz added that top Canadian oil refineries like Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources saw their valuations rise after pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners LP said on Monday it would buy Sunoco Inc for $5.35 billion. Talisman Energy Inc's shares dropped 2.6 percent to C$12.58 after the oil and gas producer reported a first-quarter profit on Tuesday, but said it cut capital spending plans again as gas prices remain weak. Cameco Corp's shares spiked 4.4 percent to C$22.82 on Tuesday after the world's second-largest uranium producer reported a 45 percent increase in quarterly profit. Thomson Reuters Corp edged up 0.8 percent to C$29.76 after the global news and information provider reported a higher-than-expected first quarter profit. Shares of WestJet Airlines Ltd climbed 2 percent to C$14.51 after Canada's No. 2 airline, said on Tuesday it has selected Bombardier Inc to supply turboprop aircraft for the new regional carrier it is setting up to try to chip away further at dominant, but ailing, competitor Air Canada . Bombardier was up 2.1 percent to C$4.27. TMX Group shares rose 2.5 percent to C$46.25 after the consortium of Canadian financial institutions bidding for the operator of the TSX extended its C$3.8 billion ($3.85 billion) takeover offer.
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