CANADA STOCKS-Banks and resources push TSX to 3-week high

Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:18am EST
 
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* TSX up 105.28 points, or 0.83 percent, at 12,806.91
    * Broad rally lifts index to highest level since Jan. 30
    * Index rises with global stock markets, oil and gold prices

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index jumped
to its highest since late January on Monday, boosted by gains in
heavyweight banking, energy and mining stocks as investors shook
off some recent hesitation and sought companies that looked
undervalued.
    Gains were notched across the index's 10 main sectors as a
perceived absence of global risks combined with hopes for the
imminent quarterly earnings season for Canada's banks.  
    "Every asset class is attractive except for cash," said
Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
"I believe we're in the beginning stage of a very strong upswing
in equities."
    At 10:40 a.m (1540 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index was up 105.28 points, or 0.83 percent,
at 12,806.91. It had earlier hit 12,832.71, its highest level
since Jan. 30.
    Toronto-Dominion Bank had the biggest positive
effect, up 1.8 percent at C$85.81, a move one analyst attributed
to reports that Royal Bank of Scotland plans to sell
part of its U.S. Citizens bank this year or next in an initial
public offering. 
    TD had been seen as a possible buyer of Citizens, and that
had weighed on TD's shares as investors had worried about the
bank taking a risk with the underperforming U.S. lender. The IPO
reports may have suggested to the market that a deal with TD is
less likely to happen, at least in the near future.
    Shares in Suncor Energy Inc and Canadian Natural
Resources Ltd were the next biggest contributors to the
index's rise, boosted by a Barron's article suggesting each
stock could gain 25 percent in the next year. 
    Suncor last traded up 1.5 percent at C$32.43 and Canadian
Natural Resources gained 2.3 percent to C$31.06.
    Resource stocks more broadly brushed off worries that a
retreat in China's manufacturing activity would dent demand from
the world's top energy consumer. 
    European and U.S. stock markets gained, while oil and gold
prices also rose.    
    Shares in BlackBerry rose 2.3 percent after the
smartphone maker's chief executive told a German newspaper that
sales of its make-or-break BB10 line were going better than
expected and that the company had increased production to keep
up.