CANADA STOCKS-U.S. data helps TSX tick higher
* TSX up 1.4 points, or 0.06 pct, at 12,047.46 * Banks help to lead market higher TORONTO, April 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index inched higher on Monday after notching its seventh straight weekly loss in the last session, buoyed by strong U.S. retail sales data, though investors remained cautious because of rising Spanish borrowing costs. Financials were among the heaviest gainers, with Toronto-Dominion Bank up 0.7 percent at C$82.56 and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce rising 0.5 percent to C$74.93. Suncor Energy climbed 0.8 percent to C$30.68, and Canadian Natural Resources gained 0.2 percent to C$31.97 as the price of oil ticked higher. "I think what we're seeing here is a little bit of confidence coming back into the market," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at Scotia McLeod, noting the strength in banks and telecoms. "Those are two areas of course where people, while they don't know what to do in the market, look at these as buy-and-hold things simply for the dividend payments because they're very attractive in today's interest rate environment." At 10:05 a.m. (1405 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 1.4 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,047.46. U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in March as Americans shrugged off high gasoline prices and bought a range of goods, indicating economic growth in the first quarter did not soften as much as many had feared. A recent spate of soft economic data, highlighted by the March U.S. payrolls report, increased worry the recovery in the economy had begun to slow. Meanwhile, market sentiment in the euro zone was still on edge as Spain's 10-year government bond yields rose above 6 percent for the first time this year and the cost of insuring its debt hit a record high. The economic picture in the United States was not entirely rosy as the New York Federal Reserve said the pace of manufacturing growth in New York state slowed sharply in April to its lowest level in five months. Potash Corp shed a 0.5 percent to C$42.47 as corn prices declined and the latest industry data indicated a build in inventories of the crop nutrient. Endeavour Silver Corp. said it is buying two of AuRico Gold's silver and gold mining interests in Mexico for up to $250 million in cash and stock to expand its footprint in the country. Endeavour fell 1.5 percent to C$8.96, while AuRico added 2.5 percent to C$9.14.
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