CANADA STOCKS-Resources help TSX bounce back from 3-day slide

Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:30pm EDT
 
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 * TSX soars 221.33 points to 13,746.15
 * Eight of index's 10 sectors stronger
 * Oil, copper, gold all firmer
 (Adds comments, U.S. economic data, Air Canada)
 TORONTO, March 17 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
broke a three-day slide on Thursday, ending sharply higher on
rising prices for oil and other commodities, though Japan's
nuclear crisis and clashes in the Middle East kept investors
uncertain about the near-term outlook.
 The powerhouse energy sector surged almost 4 percent as the
price of crude shot up by roughly the same amount on fears of
further geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East and North
Africa. [O/R] [ID:nL3E7EH0EX]
 Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) jumped 4.5 percent to C$43.96, and
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) rallied almost 5 percent to
C$48.23.
 Japanese engineers worked through the night to restore a
power cable to a crippled nuclear power plant in the hope of
restarting pumps desperately needed to pour cold water on
overheating fuel rods and avert a catastrophe. [ID:nL3E7EH2SM]
 "We're waiting for the headlines out of Japan to be less
bad and that's exactly what we're getting," said Barry
Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin
Financial Services.
 "I wouldn't say they're positive, but at least encouraging
headlines ... it's just a relief rally."
 The index materials sector was up 1.7 percent, boosted by
base-metal miners, which climbed almost 4 percent as the price
of copper hit its highest level in more than a week. Teck
Resources (TCKb.TO: Quote) advanced more than 5 percent to C$53.72.
[MET/L]
 "One would think that if Japan and the Middle East and
North Africa and euro zone are going to cause a slowdown in
growth, that you wouldn't want to be heavy to the commodities,"
Schwartz said, noting that he wasn't aggressively taking on
positions until there is a clearer picture of how events will
unfold.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE ended up 221.33 points, or 1.64 percent, at
13,746.15. Eight of its 10 main groups were stronger.
 "Technically, we still look poor, so we may have an up day
today but there might not be a lot of follow-through in the
next couple days," said said Paul Gardner, partner and
portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management.
 Gardner said expectations of rebuilding in Japan will
support the market longer term, especially forest-product
companies.
 Canfor Corp (CFP.TO: Quote) rallied 7.8 percent to C$14.00, and
International Forest IFPa.TO soared 12 percent to C$7.35.
 Uranium producers, however, continued to be pummeled over
the nuclear crisis in Japan. Cameco Corp (CCO.TO: Quote) dipped to a
six-month low, falling almost 6 percent to C$27.73.
[ID:nN17128176]
 Financial shares were up 0.7 percent, lifted by upbeat U.S.
economic reports. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) gained 1.2
percent to C$59.76, and Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) bounced up
1.8 percent to C$16.43.
 U.S. data on Thursday showed growth was accelerating.
Claims for new unemployment benefits fell last week, and
factory activity in the country's Mid-Atlantic region expanded
at its quickest rate in 27 years. [ID:nN17148632]
 "Staggering number, given what's happened with housing and
unemployment and worries about worldwide riots and black swan
events, we produced these types of strong economic numbers,"
Baskin's Schwartz said.
  As well, FedEx Corp (FDX.N: Quote), the No. 2 package delivery
company, often seen as a barometer of global economic growth,
said it expects improving revenue and profit this quarter and
beyond, even as fuel prices mount. [ID:nN17126969]
 Gold-mining shares reversed earlier losses, rising 0.5
percent as bullion prices benefited from a weaker U.S. dollar.
Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) rose 1 percent to C$45.91 [GOL/]
 Gammon Gold GAM.TO added 3.1 percent to C$8.40 after
Capital Gold CGC.A reiterated its support for Gammon's
takeover offer. [ID:nN17132651]
 In other company news, Research In Motion RIM.TO rose 1
percent to C$60.04 after the BlackBerry maker said on Wednesday
it has big plans to make better use of its nerve center
computers. [ID:nN16259058]
 Lululemon Athletica LLL.TO sank 4.4 percent to C$75.26,
after it posted a higher quarterly profit but said it was
unable to meet soaring demand for its activewear clothing
lines. [ID:nN16138953]
 Air Canada ACa.TO fell 3.3 percent to C$2.62 after the
nation's largest carrier said late on Wednesday it is
suspending unprofitable routes and cutting the frequency of
others as it wrestles with high fuel prices. [ID:nN17127701]
 ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)