CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises for 13th day; near three-year high

Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:02am EST
 
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* TSX rises 26.34 points, or 0.19 percent, to 14,236.71
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Agrium gains, First Quantum falls after earnings reports

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit
its highest in nearly three years on Friday, advancing for a
13th straight session as bullish U.S. economic data helped drive
gains in the energy and materials sectors.
    Data released on Thursday showed U.S. manufacturing activity
picked up the pace in February, recording its fastest growth in
nearly four years. 
    The index also got a lift from fertilizer maker Agrium Inc
, whose shares jumped a day after the company reported
quarterly results.
    The rally on the Toronto Stock Exchange has been fueled by a
jump in materials shares, which have rebounded sharply after a
major selloff last year. The market's benchmark index looked set
to record its third consecutive weekly gain.
    "The economies are doing well, sentiment is reasonably
positive, valuations are pretty good," said Rick Hutcheon, chief
investment officer at RKH Financial, who also cautioned of a
possible market pullback.
    "We're getting a little overbought. I wouldn't be surprised
if the market paused here a little bit," he said.
    The benchmark S&P/TSX composite index was up 26.34
points, or 0.19 percent, at 14,236.71. Seven of the 10 main
sectors on the index were higher.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, rose 0.6
percent. In the group, Agrium rose 2.3 percent to C$101. The
company reported a 72 percent decline in quarterly profit on
Thursday, but its results were in line with market expectations.
 
    First Quantum Minerals Ltd lost 1.1 percent, to
C$21.35, after the miner reported a lower quarterly profit on
Thursday due to weaker metals prices. 
    Energy shares advanced despite weaker oil prices. Canadian
Natural Resources Ltd was up 0.9 percent at C$41.27.