CANADA STOCKS-Suncor buoys TSX as index turns positive on year

Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:00pm EDT
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* TSX rises 143.83 points, or 1.17 percent, to 12,456.50
    * Nine of 10 major sectors advance
    * Suncor up 6 percent after earnings beat
    * CGI Group jumps 18 percent after results

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, April 30 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
recorded its second-biggest percentage jump of the year so far
on Tuesday, boosted by gains in almost all main sectors and in
Suncor Energy Inc shares after a strong earnings
    The climb helped the index, which has advanced in eight of
the last nine sessions, recover from a massive commodities-led
selloff earlier this month and turn positive on the year. 
    An 18 percent jump in CGI Group Inc after the
information technology services company reported strong fiscal
second-quarter results further lifted sentiment.
    Investors also closely eyed potential actions by central
banks as weak European economic data heightened expectations of
an interest rate cut by the European Central Bank. U.S. Federal
Reserve members gathered for a two-day meeting at which they are
expected to agree to sustain the bond-buying program.
    Despite the recent gains, the Toronto market is flat this
year so far, compared with a nearly 12 percent rise in the
benchmark S&P 500 index.
    "The TSX is in a good position to narrow the performance
gap," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of
research at Global Securities in Vancouver. 
    "We've been lagging this whole bull run," he added. "You
just have to wonder if investors have been too downbeat on
Canada's prospects over the past few months."
    Canada's economy delivered a welcome surprise in February,
growing faster than expected and prompting economists to upgrade
their forecasts for the first quarter, although none expect the
central bank to raise interest rates any time soon.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 143.83 points, or 1.17 percent, at
    Nine of the 10 main sectors of the index were higher.
    Suncor rose 6 percent as Canada's largest energy company
increased its dividend 54 percent, said it would buy back C$2
billion ($1.97 billion) of its own shares and reported
first-quarter earnings that surpassed expectations. Suncor had
the biggest positive influence on the index.  
    "It's a pleasant surprise," Irwin Michael, portfolio manager
at ABC Funds, said of Suncor's results.
    "You need more of the big companies doing a little better
than expected," he added. "We expect to see more dividend
increases and better earnings as well."
    Suncor's gains offset declines in other major oil and gas
producers, which fell with oil prices. 
    The index's materials sector, which includes mining stocks,
rose 1.4 percent. In the group, miner Goldcorp Inc 
advanced 2.2 percent to C$29.82.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added
0.9 percent.