CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises but U.S. data, Europe temper gains
* TSX up 61.60 pts, or 0.5 pct, at 11,640.75 * Mining, energy shares lead gains * U.S. data, euro zone worries weigh By Jon Cook TORONTO, July 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index touched a nine-day high on Thursday, led upward by mining and energy shares, but gains were limited as weak U.S. data and a spike in Spanish borrowing costs stoked fresh concerns about the global economic recovery. Seven of Canada's 10 main industry sectors were trading stronger. The heavily-weighted materials group, which includes miners, led the way, rising 1.2 percent. Gold and copper prices gained from a weaker U.S. dollar, which makes assets priced in greenbacks cheaper for holders of other currencies. "The golds and metals were very oversold, so we're getting a bounce," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada. Mining gains were led by First Quantum Minerals, which surged 9.2 percent to C$18.13 after the copper miner's stock was upgraded to 'buy' by Dundee Securities. Canada's top gold producers were also firmer, with Goldcorp rising 2.1 percent to C$33.55, and Barrick Gold, which edged up 1.1 percent to C$35.04. Commodities were lifted by signs that China could announce further monetary easing measures as soon as this weekend after Premier Wen Jiabao said the government would step up efforts to boost the economy in the second half of 2012. The prominent energy group rose 1.1 percent as U.S. crude climbed above $90 a barrel a day after the killing of top Syrian security chiefs and the attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria on Wednesday ratcheted up Middle East tensions. The oil and gas patch's top performers included Suncor Energy, which rose 1.4 percent to C$30.63, and Canadian Natural Resources, up 2.5 percent at C$28.77. On the downside, Nexen Inc's shares fell 1.4 percent to C$17.18, after the oil and gas explorer said its second-quarter profit slid 57 percent as it took a charge on a failed exploration well in the Gulf of Mexico. Around 11:15 a.m. EDT (1615 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 61.60 points, or 0.5 percent, at 11,640.75. At its peak, it touched 11,669.58 points -- its highest level since July 10. Canadian stocks also took their lead from U.S. markets, after the benchmark S&P 500 index reached its highest level since May on Wednesday. The U.S. rally has largely been driven by better-than-expected corporate earnings, the latest positive signal coming from technology giant IBM, which raised its full-year profit forecast late on Wednesday. However, weak U.S. data on Thursday tempered investor sentiment. American jobless claims rose more than expected in the latest week and existing home sales unexpectedly fell in June. Worries about Europe's debt levels were heightened after Spain's five-year borrowing costs hit new euro-era highs at an auction, while France sold bonds of similar maturities at yields below 1 percent. Concerns deepened after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the Spanish government is liable for European aid to the country's banks, ahead of a key parliamentary vote on a rescue package. In Canadian earnings news, Shoppers Drug Mart Corp's shares rose 0.7 percent to C$42.96 after Canada's largest pharmacy chain said on Thursday quarterly earnings edged higher after excluding a charge for store closures.
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