CANADA STOCKS-TSX gains on miners, possible Maple Leaf bake sale

Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:00pm EDT
 
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* TSX up 50.44 points, or 0.38 percent, at 13,186.53
    * Maple Leaf Foods exploring bakery sale, surges 10 pct

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed
higher on Monday for a fifth straight session, as shares of
Maple Leaf Foods Inc jumped after the company said it
may sell its bakery business and as banking and gold mining
stocks climbed.
    The gains extended a two-year peak for the Toronto Stock
Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index that was hit last
week on signs of Chinese economic growth and after the U.S.
government reopened following a partial shutdown. 
    "Growth in China will help," said Douglas Davis, chief
executive at investment manager Davis-Rea. "It seems to be
picking up."
    The index closed up 50.44 points, or 0.38 percent, at
13,186.53.
    Investors have been particularly buoyed by expectations that
the U.S. Federal Reserve will have to maintain its accommodative
monetary stimulus for longer due to the damage to the economy
caused by the government shutdown.
    "As long as tapering is avoided the outlook for Canada stays
quite good," Davis said. "But as soon as tapering happens we
will probably get kicked a little bit."
    Shares of Goldcorp Inc gained 2.7 percent to C$25.73
and Barrick Gold Corp added 2.4 percent to C$19.53;
both were among the five most positive impacts on the index.
    The gold-mining sector has struggled recently - both
Goldcorp and Barrick are down more than 25 percent this year -
leading to underperformance for the TSX versus U.S. and other
indexes.
    "Canada has been a big laggard over the last year," said
Gavin Graham, chief strategy officer at Integris Pension
Management Corp. "Some indications that the gold stocks will
claw back some of their underperformance will help."
    The price of gold was flat after gaining 4 percent last
week. 
    The other three biggest contributors to the index's gains
were Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, up 1.6 percent
to C$85.35; Royal Bank of Canada, up 0.5 percent to C$69.90; and
Bank of Nova Scotia, up 0.7 percent to C$62.00.
    RBC, the country's biggest lender, said it plans to buy back
as much as 2.1 percent of its stock.
    Maple Leaf Foods jumped to C$14.63 as it looks to sell its
controlling stake in Canada Bread Co  to focus on its
meat business. 
    Shares of CGI Group fell 2.7 percent to C$36.09. The company
provided the technology behind the Obama administration's health
insurance website, which has been beset with glitches.