CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs as sentiment improves; Potash slips

Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:54pm EST
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* TSX up 92.06 points, or 0.67 percent, at 13,735.28
    * Nine of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Potash drops nearly 2 percent after quarterly report
    * Gold-mining shares slip with the price of bullion

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
advanced on Thursday as sentiment rebounded after the release of
positive economic data from the United States, helping overcome
a weak quarterly report from Potash Corp that pulled
the company's shares lower.
    Potash shares slipped 1.9 percent after the world's biggest
fertilizer company posted a sharply lower quarterly profit and
gave 2014 forecasts that were below Wall Street expectations.
    Investors took stock of fresh U.S. economic data a day after
the Fed said it would trim its bond purchases by another $10
billion despite recent turmoil in emerging markets.
    Data showed that the U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent
annual rate in the final three months of last year. The figures
were in line with market expectations but stronger than had been
anticipated earlier in the quarter. 
    "Today's GDP numbers validate the Fed's thinking that the
United States is on a strong growth trajectory, and that's
giving confidence to investors," said Elvis Picardo, strategist
and vice president of research at Global Securities in
    "The fact that the focus is shifting to earnings and
economics can only be a positive for the markets," he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 92.06 points, or 0.67 percent, at 13,735.28.
    "I am positive on the TSX," said Picardo, who sees the
benchmark index recording double-digit growth in 2014.
    Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on
    Insurers gained, lifting the broader financial sector, on
hopes of benefiting from a possible rise in interest rates as a
result of the Fed's move. Manulife Financial Corp 
climbed 1.8 percent to C$20.87, and Sun Life Financial Inc
 rose 1.6 percent at C$36.95.
    But the materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gave
back 1.2 percent. Potash was down at C$34.89. 
    Gold-mining shares took a hit as the price of bullion
dropped. Goldcorp Inc lost 2.6 percent to C$26.93, and
Barrick Gold Corp slipped 1.7 percent to C$21.45.
    In corporate news, Canadian National Railway Co 
reported higher quarterly results and raised its quarterly
dividend by 16 percent. The stock was up 2.2 percent, at