CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises for 7th day, helped by China data
* TSX rises 59.01 points, or 0.43 percent, to 13,940.40 * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance * Air Canada, Rogers fall after quarterly reports * Energy shares gain with oil price By John Tilak TORONTO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index climbed for a seventh straight session on Wednesday, boosted by strong Chinese trade data and relief over a U.S. debt ceiling deal. The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index, which is up about 2.3 percent this year, touched its highest level in nearly three weeks. The market optimism offset sharp declines in Air Canada and Rogers Communications Inc after the two companies reported quarterly results. Data that showed Chinese import growth in January touched a six-month high eased some concerns about the health of the world second-biggest economy. The upbeat numbers helped push up oil prices and the shares of energy companies. News that the U.S. House of Representatives had approved a one-year extension of federal borrowing authority provided further support to the market. "With the debt ceiling agreement in the United States, it takes one uncertainty off the table and that is being reflected in the positive mood in the market," said Shailesh Kshatriya, associate director for client investment strategies at Russell Investments Canada. "The Chinese data, although it's choppy, is firming, signaling that it's not going to decelerate sharply from where we are," he added. The Toronto stock market's S&P/TSX composite index was up 59.01 points, or 0.43 percent, at 13,940.40. Kshatriya said he expects the index to lag its U.S. counterparts this year, expressing caution about growth in Canada's economy and in the natural resource sectors. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Wednesday. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained 0.8 percent. Manulife Financial Corp advanced 1.8 percent to C$20.84, and Bank of Nova Scotia climbed 0.8 percent to C$62.52. With a rise in the prices of Brent and U.S. crude oil, energy shares added 0.9 percent. In the group, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was up nearly 2 percent at C$38.40. Shares of Air Canada tumbled 10.5 percent to C$7 after the carrier said it expected weakness in the Canadian dollar and adverse weather conditions to hurt its core earnings in the current quarter. The stock had the biggest percentage decline on the index. Rogers Communications reported declines in quarterly profit and revenue, hurt by a government-mandated changes to its wireless pricing strategy and the cost of broadcasting more hockey games. The stock gave back 4.8 percent to C$43.49. Shares of Canada Bread Co jumped 7.1 percent to C$72.05 after the company said Mexico's Grupo Bimbo will buy it for C$1.83 billion ($1.66 billion) in cash.
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