CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs on European data; Fed policy eyed
* TSX rises 69.08 points, or 0.54 percent, to 13,194.78 * Nine of 10 main index sectors advance * RBC is most influential gainer on the market By John Tilak TORONTO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Monday as upbeat data from Europe supported sentiment, with investors focused on the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond buying program ahead of an upcoming policy meeting. Data on Monday showed that euro zone businesses ended the year on a high, helped by a jump in new orders. A preliminary private survey meanwhile indicated a slowdown in growth in activity in China's factory sector in December as reduced output offset a pickup in new orders. But the market's primary fixation remained the Fed's monetary policy, with investors speculating about when the U.S. central bank could begin to scale back its stimulus measures. Fed officials meet on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and most recent U.S. economic data suggest that the beginning of the end of the massive bond-buying program will come sooner rather than later. "It's a relatively benign environment, but it's a wait-and-see environment," said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management. "If they kick the can down the road, the market could well take off." "The market is evenly split between those who think tapering is going to happen sooner rather than later and people like myself who think it's not going to happen till February or March," he said. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 69.08 points, or 0.54 percent, at 13,194.78. "I don't see the TSX roaring ahead, but it can retrace some of its recent losses," Cockfield said. "I don't see anything meaningful happening until we get the Fed meeting out of the way." Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Shares of banks and insurers climbed 0.9 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest lender, was up 1.2 percent to C$69.04, having the biggest positive influence on the market. Manulife Financial Corp advanced 1.7 percent to C$19.98. With support from higher oil prices, shares of energy producers gained 0.3 percent. Suncor Energy Inc rose 0.8 percent to C$36.09. Investors also digested news that Barrick Gold Corp was laying off roughly 1,500 of its approximately 5,000 workers on the Argentine side of its suspended Pascua-Lama gold mine project, according to a local government spokesman on Saturday. The stock added 1.1 percent to C$17.96.
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