3 Min Read
* TSX rises 51.24 points, or 0.40 percent, to 12,807.16 * Eight of 10 main index sectors advance * Manulife up nearly 2 percent after price target increased By John Tilak TORONTO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks touched a one-week high on Friday, led by financial and energy shares, as positive economic data from China, Europe and the United States offset weak domestic numbers and as Manulife Financial Corp rose on reaction to its results. China's exports and imports surged in January, the country's first hard data of the year showed, pointing to robust domestic demand and a pick-up in the economy. That more than offset news that Canada's economy unexpectedly shed 21,900 jobs in January, delivering a reality check after months of outsized employment growth, and confirming forecasts of slowing economic expansion. "We're seeing the market vote on the side of the global data today," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri. "The global growth story, while certainly not firing on all cylinders, appears to be improving at the margin." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 51.24 points, or 0.40 percent, at 12,807.16, after touching 12,815.23, its highest point since Jan. 30. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. The financial sector, the index's weightiest, gained 0.6 percent. Manulife, which reported a return to quarterly profit on Thursday, played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market higher. The insurer extended the modest gain it made on Thursday after several analysts raised their price targets for the stock. Manulife shares were up 1.8 percent at C$14.81. Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 0.5 percent to C$83.29. Energy shares climbed 0.6 percent as oil prices rose following the Chinese data. Suncor Energy Inc, Canada's largest energy company, was up 0.7 percent at C$32.45. Chinese exports grew 25 percent in January from a year earlier and imports surged 28.8 percent, with the resulting $29.2 billion trade surplus topping a market expectation of $22 billion. Energy prices were also supported by news that Germany's trade surplus hit its second-highest level in more than 60 years in 2012, an indication of the underlying strength of Europe's biggest economy. Also giving support to the market, rising exports and less imported oil helped push the U.S. trade deficit to its narrowest point in nearly three years in December.