CANADA STOCKS-China helps TSX posts biggest gain in 6 weeks

Mon Apr 2, 2012 4:54pm EDT
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* TSX ends up 114.88 points, or 0.93 percent, at 12,507.06
    * Eight of 10 sectors stronger as resources, banks climb
    * Strong Chinese manufacturing offsets weak euro zone data

    By Claire Sibonney	
    TORONTO, April 2 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
notched its biggest gain in nearly six weeks on Monday after
upbeat Chinese and U.S. manufacturing data trumped further signs
of economic weakness in Europe. 	
    China's official Purchasing Managers' Index hit an 11-month
high, while data from the U.S. Institute for Supply Management
showed the pace of growth in the manufacturing sector picked up
even as measures of new orders and exports eased.
    Canada's resource-heavy stock index outperformed Wall Street
as the brighter news from China in particular helped calm
worries about demand prospects in the world's second-largest
    The materials stock sector was up 1.6 percent, energy shares
rose 1.2 percent and financials added 0.6 percent.	
    "It probably reinforces the fact that China is heading for a
soft landing and not some kind of hard landing that is going to
disrupt global growth," said Robert Kavcic, economist at BMO
Capital Markets.	
    "Overall, it's pretty clear that there's a move into
cyclical sectors of the equity market today and that's no doubt
helped by the economic data."	
     The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended up 114.88 points, or 0.93 percent, at 12,507.06,
its biggest one-day jump since Feb. 21. Eight of the ten sectors
were in positive territory, with health care and technology
    Among the most influential climbers, Royal Bank of Canada
 rose 1.6 percent to C$58.74, Suncor Energy 
advanced 1.9 percent to C$33.20 and Canadian Natural Resources
 was up 2.1 percent to C$33.75. 	
    The better-than-expected reports from China and the United
States offset data from Europe that showed the region's
manufacturing sector shrank for an eighth straight month in
March, highlighting the difficulties in getting the euro zone
economy on track. 	
    Arthur Salzer, chief executive officer of Northland Wealth
Management, noted the rebound in financial stocks, which started
the day on negative ground.	
    "Given the Canadian banking sector's performance last year,
we think it's poised to outperform in 2012 and any type of
moderate pullback, we've been adding to positions for clients,"
said Salzer.	
    In individual company news, Progress Energy Resources
 surged 7.9 percent to C$10.79 after Malaysia's state
oil firm Petronas was reported to be studying plans
for a Canadian gas asset acquisition that may exceed $5 billion.
    "The prices are so low in that part of the energy sector
that it makes sense for strategic acquisitions from other
companies now," Salzer added.