CANADA STOCKS-Energy shrs lead TSX higher on central bank hopes

Thu Aug 9, 2012 11:02am EDT
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* Main index up 71.93 points, or 0.6 percent, at 11,852.97
    * Energy stocks lead rise as China policy eyed
    * U.S. and European central bank action also expected

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark equity index
gained ground on Thursday, led by energy stocks, after soft
Chinese economic data kept alive talk that central bankers may
ease monetary policy to stimulate growth.
    Shares in Canadian oil and gas companies were lifted almost
across the board as investors bet that slowing Chinese inflation
would give the central bank of the world's second largest
economy room to continue cutting interest rates or use other
tools to try to spur growth.
    "If there is one country that's going to move commodity
markets, it's going to be China if you can get demand back on
track," said Gareth Watson, vice president for investment
management and research at Richardson GMP.
    Shares in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd jumped 6.1
percent to C$31.37, playing the biggest role of any stock in
leading the market higher.
    Canadian Natural gained even though it reported a 19 percent
fall in second-quarter net profit. 
    Independent oil producer Crescent Point Energy Corp 
also helped pull the index up with a 4 percent jump to C$42.03
after posting a 55 percent jump in profit and raising its
production forecast for the year. 
    By 10:35 a.m. (1435 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 71.93 points, or 0.6
percent, at 11,852.97.
    Watson said that action was also being anticipated from the
U.S. and European central banks.
    "The market is telling us they expect further steps to be
taken in the near future," he said. "Whether they'll be
effective is a completely different issue."
    The Bank of Canada remains one of the only major central
banks considering tightening policy, a view reiterated by
Governor Mark Carney in interviews published on Wednesday.
    Other stocks on the move after results included retailer
Canadian Tire Corp Ltd, which rose 4.2 percent after
reporting a higher profit. 
    Bombardier Inc was one of the heaviest weights on
the index. Its shares fell 2.7 percent to C$3.66 as the train
and plane maker's revenue dropped.