CANADA STOCKS-Deals help support TSX as Europe drags

Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:58am EDT
 
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* TSX rises 8.83 points to 12,145.77
    * Seven of 10 sectors stronger

    By Claire Sibonney	
    TORONTO, April 18 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
struggled for direction on Wednesday as fears of a resurgence in
the euro zone debt crisis offset the positive impact of deals in
the consumer staples, healthcare and mining sectors. 	
    Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc, which
operates convenience store chains in Canada and the United
States, surged 12 percent to C$38.38 after it struck a deal to
buy Norwegian company Statoil Fuel and Retail ASA for
15.9 billion crowns ($2.8 billion). 	
    "Investors like the deal, they see something there in terms
of a dramatic increase in earnings that could happen," said
Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin
Financial Services.	
    "I'm always nervous when companies go out of their core
competency, they know the North American economy they know how
that works ... and then all of a sudden they announce this
out-of-nowhere deal."	
    SXC Health Solutions Corp  rallied 7.8
percent to C$85.84 after it said it will buy rival U.S. pharmacy
benefit manager Catalyst Health Solutions Inc for about
$4.4 billion. 	
    Ivanhoe Mines  jumped 11 percent to C$12.92
after its founder and Chief Executive Robert Friedland agreed to
step down as part of a financing deal with its majority
shareholder Rio Tinto  that will help fund
construction of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia.
 	
    At 10:40 a.m. (1440 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 8.83 points, or 0.07
percent at 12,145.77. Seven of the 10 sectors were firmer.	
    In other company news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International
Inc  edged up 0.1 percent to C$54.48 after
announcing it will buy certain assets from Atlantis Pharma, a
branded generic pharmaceutical company, for about $71 million,
to expand its footprint in Mexico. 	
    Canada's third-largest grocery store operator, Metro Inc
, rose 1 percent to C$54.14 after reporting a higher
quarterly profit as its majority-owned ethnic food retailer,
Marché Adonis, boosted sales and margins. 	
    "Each and every day we get more confirmation that the North
American economy is growing faster and stronger than some of the
analysts are expecting. I feel really comfortable about the
earnings for the rest of 2012 even with more punishing news out
of Europe," added Schwartz.	
    On the downside, overall risk sentiment was weak, following
Wall Street's cue as investors digested the latest round of
earnings, including reports from IBM and Intel.
 	
    Confidence was also hit soft commodity prices and heavy
falls in Spanish stocks and losses amid pressure from Spain's
budget troubles and the potential repercussions for the euro
zone. 	
    Some strategists said comments from European Central Bank
policymaker Jens Weidmann that countries should not expect the
central bank to tackle rising debt yields by buying government
bonds prompted the weakness in stocks. 	
    Among the most influential laggards, Goldcorp Inc 
lost 1.6 percent to C$40.69, Canadian Natural Resources 
slipped 1.4 percent to C$32.16 and Barrick Gold fell
0.5 percent to C$40.74.