CANADA STOCKS-TSX nears three-month high, posts weekly gain

Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:10pm EDT
 
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* TSX rises 32.40 points, or 0.26 percent, to 12,736.92
    * Six of the 10 main sectors advance
    * RBC, TD have biggest positive influence on market

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
advanced to its highest level in close to three months on Friday
as supply worries drove gains in the price of oil and in the
shares of energy companies, offsetting declines in mining
stocks.
    The Toronto stock market index also rose 1.6 percent for the
week.
    After trailing U.S. stocks all year, the TSX has
managed to outperform the S&P 500 in August to date as a
rebound in commodity prices begins to take hold. 
    A recent wave of positive economic data from China, Europe
and the United States has supported the case for a strong global
recovery, which is positive for the export-focused Canadian
market.
    "The sentiment toward China is starting to improve, the
sentiment toward Europe is starting to improve," said Colin
Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. "And
that's helping underpin commodities, which is helping the
Canadian stocks to recover, finally."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 32.40 points, or 0.26 percent, at 12,736.92,
after going as high as 12,799.99, touching its highest intraday
level since May 22. 
    A report on Friday showed U.S. consumers, bracing for higher
interest rates and slightly slower economic growth, were a bit
less optimistic in August as sentiment fell from last month's
six-year high. 
    Investors bracing for the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin
tightening monetary policy were dissecting every piece of
economic data to try to figure out when the Fed will start to
move.
    "The initiation of (Fed) tapering is the worst-kept secret
in town. The question is when," said Irwin Michael, portfolio
manager at ABC Funds. 
    Investors should look at the stimulus pullback as "a
positive thing, that the economy has nursed itself back from the
2008-2009 lows," he added.
    Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on
Friday.
    Oil and gas shares climbed 0.9 percent as oil prices rose on
concerns that violence in Egypt could affect the Suez Canal, a
conduit for up to 3 million barrels per day of oil.
    In the group, Suncor Energy Inc rose 1 percent to
C$35.33, and Enbridge Inc advanced 0.6 percent to
C$43.61.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained
0.6 percent. 
    Royal Bank of Canada added 0.8 percent to C$64.36,
and Toronto Dominion Bank was up 0.8 percent, at
C$87.41. The two stocks had the biggest positive influence on
the index.
    But the materials sector, which includes mining stocks,
slipped 1 percent. Barrick Gold Corp lost 2.1 percent
to C$20.01, and fertilizer producer Potash Corp fell
2.4 percent to C$31.41.