CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2011 high as resources heat up

Mon Feb 14, 2011 5:48pm EST
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   * TSX up 144.01 points, or 1.05 pct, at 13,910.77
 * Eight of the TSX's 10 main groups advance
 * Chinese data lifts outlook for commodity demand
 * Unrest in the Middle East remains a concern
 (Updates with details, comment)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
rallied to a 31-month high on Monday, led by energy and mining
issues, after Chinese trade data underscored the Asian
country's strong appetite for raw materials.
 Optimism over China's economic outlook grew as concerns
eased about the country's inflation overheating and as data
showed imports surged. [ID:nTOE71A01I] [MET/L]
 That boosted the TSX's energy and materials groups, which
make up roughly 50 percent of the index. Energy shares rose
1.86 percent, while materials gained 1.57 percent.
 "(People) keep on seeing that (the market's) running away
from them and they're being forced into the market," said Sid
Mokhtari, market technician and director of institutional
equity research at CIBC World Markets.
 "Energy is very thematic in 2011 -- it was one sector that
returned very little in 2010," he added.
 Energy stocks have climbed nearly 5 percent so far this
year. Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) gained 3.38 percent to reach
C$41.61, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) rose 2.72
percent to C$44.38. Imperial Oil (IMO.TO: Quote) was up 2.16 percent
at C$45.85.
 Brent crude jumped more than 2 percent to top $104 a barrel
over concerns about protests in the Middle East and healthy
crude oil imports by China. High stockpiles weighed on U.S.
crude prices, however. [O/R]
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE finished the day advancing 144.01 points, or 1.05
percent, to 13,910.77. Earlier in the session, the index hit
its highest level since July 2008.
 Eight of the TSX's 10 main groups were higher. Technology
issues and telecoms were the lone decliners, retreating 0.54
percent and 0.04 percent respectively.
 "It's reasonable to say that with the Chinese data point
and with Japanese GDP being less of a concern for people, that
gave the market a boost overseas. Which basically cascaded into
North America," said Mokhtari, who also said he expects the TSX
to push through the 14,000 level.
 The influential and economically sensitive financial group
was also up, climbing 0.83 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank
(TD.TO: Quote) gained 1.04 percent to C$79.32, while Bank of Montreal
(BMO.TO: Quote) advanced 0.97 percent to C$60.33.
 "Rates are still very low, the economy is very
surreptitiously improving. We like what we see -- this is a
stock picker's market -- so it's individual stocks that are
moving ... China and everything else is just a bit of a
diversion," said Irwin Michael, a portfolio manager at ABC
 "The banks are fairly to fully priced. But, having said
that, if you have to put out money, clients will never really
criticize you for buying a Canadian bank. They pay good
dividends, they're liquid."
 Among miners, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) climbed 2.54 percent to
C$48.01. Cameco Corp (CCO.TO: Quote), which posted higher than
expected fourth-quarter earnings late on Friday, finished with
a 3.83 percent jump to C$43.14.[ID:nN14292027]
 Bullion rose on safe-haven demand as fears returned that
political unrest could escalate in the Middle East after Hosni
Mubarak's resignation. [GOL/]
 "People are still nervous, people want to see what the
actual fallout is on Egypt," said Michael.
 ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
 (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; and Rob Wilson)