December 10, 2010 / 10:14 PM / 7 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX lifted by optimistic economic data

* TSX closes up 0.55 percent at 13,239.47

* All 10 sectors stronger (Updates to close)

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed higher on Friday after upbeat economic data at home and abroad boosted confidence and pushed up heavily weighted financial and resource stocks.

The index’s financial sector finished the day up 0.9 percent, energy was up 0.2 percent, and materials shares were 0.5 percent higher.

The data-packed day was highlighted by figures that showed robust Chinese imports, shrinking Canadian and U.S. trade deficits and a rise in U.S. consumer confidence. [ID:nTOE6B901S] [ID:nN10267094] [ID:nN10163525]

“The economic data we had today was very bullish, it was very encouraging for the economic outlook ... and has supported the recent rotation into risk assets,” said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.

“That’s the tail wind of economic optimism that’s filtering through the market and, of course, that gained huge traction this week with looser U.S. fiscal policy,” he added, noting the deal between Democrats and Republicans to extend tax cuts.

Insurers such as Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO, which jumped 5.7 percent to C$16.89, were lifted by a profit picture made brighter by soaring bond yields and a broad rally in equity markets.

Banks have also benefited from the steepening of the yield curve, said Smith, as they can borrow more cheaply at the front end and invest at the higher-yielding long end. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country’s biggest lender, was up 0.5 percent at C$52.75.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 72.53 points, or 0.55 percent, at 13,239.47. It ended the week 0.5 percent higher. All 10 of its sectors rose, including cyclical technology stocks, up 0.9 percent on the day.

Telecoms surged almost 1 percent, driven by BCE Inc (BCE.TO), the country’s biggest communications company, which gained almost 3 percent to C$36.09 after it raised its annual dividend for 2011. [ID:nSGE6B908F]

Looking ahead, investors will be focused on Chinese inflation data, due Saturday, which could push China’s central bank to raise interest rates. [ID:nTOE6B203E]

A second potential headwind, said Smith, is Wednesday’s Irish parliamentary vote on an EU/IMF bailout package ahead of an expected turnover in the country’s government in an election next year. [ID:nLDE6B91FT]

In individual company news, sporting goods retailer Forzani Group FGL.TO shot up almost 12 percent to C$17.64 after it reported a 20 percent rise in quarterly net earnings on Thursday. [ID:nN09264477]

Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc LLL.TO notched a new year high, up 8.1 percent at C$69.44, a day after the yoga-wear retailer reported its net profit nearly doubled in the third quarter and forecast more growth ahead. [ID:nN09219897]

Shares of Harry Winston HW.TO fell almost 13 percent to C$12.62 after the diamond miner and retailer reduced its 2010 production outlook. [ID:nN10295269]

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway

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