CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends at highest level in nearly 3 weeks

Thu Oct 4, 2012 4:46pm EDT
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* TSX ends up 88.21 points, or 0.7 pct, at 12,447.68
    * Eight of 10 sectors end higher

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index notched
its highest closing level in nearly three weeks on Thursday
after reassuring comments from the European Central Bank chief
and signs of improvement in the U.S. labor market supported
demand for riskier assets.
    Heavily-weighted financial and resource shares rose sharply,
with the latter helped by higher prices for the underlying
    Oil prices were up about 4 percent, getting an extra boost
from inflamed tensions between Turkey and Syria, while gold hit
its highest level in 11 months.  
    Among the top gainers, Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.9
percent to C$57.53, Barrick Gold jumped 1.8 percent to
C$41.36 and Suncor Energy added 1.3 percent to C$33.15.
    "Today we got the big run-up in crude oil, so that's
supported the energy sector ... but I think for cyclical stocks,
folks may be looking for greater visibility that growth in China
is picking up," said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at
Action Economics.
    The TSX's slant towards economically sensitive commodity
companies - which make up about half of the index - has caused
the index to dramatically lag Wall Street in 2012. The TSX is up
about 4 percent year to date, versus a 16 percent rise for the
S&P 500. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended up 88.21 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,447.68.
Eight of the 10 sectors were positive.
    Lifting sentiment, ECB President Mario Draghi said the
central is ready to buy the bonds of euro zone member countries
that ask for it, leaving the door open to a widely expected
bailout of Spain. 
    "Draghi has shown that he's someone you don't want to mess
with and the market needs to understand that he's going to do
whatever it takes to ensure that the euro survives," said Barry
Schwartz vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin
Financial Services.
    The euro zone is also considering aiding Spain by providing
insurance for investors who buy government bonds in a move
designed to maintain Spanish access to capital markets and
minimize the cost to European taxpayers, European sources said.
    On the data front, fewer than expected Americans filed new
claims for unemployment benefits last week, setting up
expectations for a decent U.S. monthly jobs report on Friday.
    U.S. employers are expected to have added 113,000 jobs to
their payrolls in September, an increase from 96,000 in August,
according to a Reuters survey of economists.