CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on gold mining gains
* TSX up 47.63 pts, or 0.41 pct, at 11,612.25 * Gold miners lead materials gains * Weak euro zone, U.S., China data weigh By Jon Cook TORONTO, May 24 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was higher in choppy trade on Thursday as gains from gold miners offset concerns about the festering euro zone debt crisis and a slew of weak global economic data. Surveys on Thursday showed the euro zone's private sector contracted, U.S. manufacturing growth slowed and China's once-booming factories faltered in May. But Canada's heavyweight materials sector, which includes gold miners, rose more than 1 percent, helping the broader index shrug off the dreary global economic data. "Gold does carry a big weight in the index," said Sid Mokhtari, market technician and director, institutional equity research at CIBC World Markets. "The market is looking for a reason to be able to rally off very oversold conditions." Gold stocks rallied for the second straight day as bullion halted its three-day slide and rose 1 percent, boosted by International Monetary Fund data showing another rise in central bank gold holdings in April. The most influential gainers included Goldcorp, up 0.9 percent to C$38.76, Yamana Gold, rising 1.9 percent to C$15.13, Eldorado Gold, which climbed 2.2 percent to C$11.94 and Barrick Gold, up 0.4 percent at C$40.71. At 11:25 a.m. EDT (1525 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 47.63 points, or 0.41 percent, at 11,612.25, just below its highest level in 10 days. Investor confidence was still shaky after Wednesday's news that European Union leaders have been advised by senior officials to prepare contingency plans in case Greece quits the single currency. Sentiment worsened after PMI data for the euro zone region showed activity was declining at a faster pace than expected in May. Manufacturing output also slowed in the world's two largest economies. China's industrial sector retreated to 48.7 in May from a final reading of 49.3 in April and a U.S. manufacturing index dipped to 53.9 in May from 56.0 the previous month. Canadian financial shares were flat after some mixed second-quarter earnings results from the country's top lenders. Toronto-Dominion Bank shares rose 1.1 percent to C$79.60 after Canada's No. 2 bank said on Thursday its quarterly profit rose 20.7 percent. However, gains were muted by Royal Bank of Canada, which tumbled 2 percent to C$51.82 after Canada's largest bank reported a 7 percent decline in quarterly earnings on Thursday. "It's stable," said CIBC's Mokhtari. "You can't say too many wrong things about the group that pays good dividends and has some good follow through."
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