CANADA STOCKS-China hopes, BlackBerry jump drive TSX higher
* TSX rises 97.96 points, or 0.69 percent, to 14,276.80 * All of the 10 main index sectors advance * BlackBerry jumps 3.4 percent after quarterly results * BRP drops 7 percent after cutting profit forecast By John Tilak TORONTO, March 28 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose sharply on Friday, helped by expectations the Chinese government will come up with a stimulus package to support the economy and by a jump in shares of BlackBerry. BlackBerry gained 3.4 percent after the company reported a much smaller-than-expected quarterly loss even as its smartphone sales continued to slide. The market was also encouraged by data showing a rise in U.S. consumer spending in February, following a wave of upbeat numbers that suggested the U.S. economy in the first quarter was shaping up stronger than some people had expected. China's Premier Li Keqiang said that Beijing was ready to support the world's second-biggest economy and signaled a willingness to drive infrastructure investment. China is a major market for Canada's natural resources. "There's been some expectation built in already that the Chinese government will not let growth diminish too far, and this is really the confirmation of that," said Julie Brough, vice president at Morgan Meighen & Associates. The U.S. data suggests that consumers "are getting more confident," she added. "Confidence is a positive thing and should help provide the next leg of growth for the U.S. economy." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 97.96 points, or 0.69 percent, at 14,276.80 after declining in the previous two sessions. It is up about 4.7 percent this year. "The news today should be supportive for Canada as it gives resource stocks a lift," Brough said. "There is a generally positive outlook (for Canadian equities)." All of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Friday. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, showed the biggest gain, advancing 1.5 percent. Goldcorp Inc added 1.5 percent to C$27.87, and Barrick Gold Corp climbed 1.4 percent to C$20.23. Shares of energy producers received a boost from higher oil prices. Suncor Energy Inc rose 1.6 percent to C$37.80, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was up 0.5 percent at C$41.99. In corporate news, BRP Inc forecast a lower-than-expected full-year profit. Shares of the snowmobile maker shed 7.1 percent to C$29.60. BlackBerry was trading up at C$10.30 and was instrumental in the information technology sector's 1.4 percent gain. ($1=$1.11 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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