CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 1-wk high on G7 yen action, Libya

Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:26pm EDT
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 * TSX ends up 43.48 points, or 0.3 pct, to 13,789.63
 * Three  of 10 main sectors end in positive territory
 (Updates with details, comments)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, March 18 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
climbed to a one-week high on Friday, as a Group of Seven
intervention to weaken the soaring yen and a ceasefire
declaration in Libya provided some investor optimism and helped
lift mining issues.
 The materials sector, up 1.1 percent, led the gainers. Gold
and base-metal miners advanced despite a pullback in copper
prices. Gold rose more than 1 percent as the United Nations'
authorization of a no-fly zone in Libya boosted bullion's
status as a safe haven. [GOL/] [MET/L]
 Muammar Gaddafi's government said it was declaring a
unilateral ceasefire in its offensive to crush Libya's revolt
as Western warplanes prepared to enforce the no-fly zone.
 Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO jumped 2.3 percent to C$48.87,
and Goldcorp G.TO gained 2.1 percent to C$46.76. Ivanhoe
Mines surged 4 percent to C$25.84.
 "People are starting to realize that mid- to longer term
(Japan) needs to rebuild so they're going to need lots of
metal," said Laura Lau, senior portfolio manager at Sentry
Select Capital Corp.
 Meanwhile, Japan bought billions of U.S. dollars to
restrain the yen, with other Group of Seven central banks,
including the Bank of Canada, also moving to calm markets made
nervous by Japan's nuclear crisis. [ID:nL3E7EH3HN]
 "The fact that the Japanese market rallied overnight and
the fact that the situation there is somewhat under control,
plus the ceasefire in Libya, that's all added to some optimism
in the markets," said  Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist
at Global Securities in Vancouver.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed up 43.48 points, or 0.32 percent, at
13,789.63. Only three of the 10 main sectors finished higher,
including financials, up 0.1 percent, and industrials, up 0.5
percent. The index ended the week 0.8 percent higher.
 The TSX pulled back from a broader rally earlier in the
day, with energy stocks turning negative in choppy trading as
oil prices slipped [O/R]. It reached as high as 13,875.70, its
strongest level since March 10.
 "There are so many moving parts to the market here, but I
think essentially it boils down to a justifiable reluctance to
leave long positions over the weekend and that's mainly on the
account of concerns about the ongoing nuclear situation in
Japan," added Picardo, noting the energy sector has been
exceptionally unsteady in recent weeks.
 Also weighing on investor sentiment was China's move to
raise its banks' required reserves again. [ID:nTOE722076]
 "It hasn't had too much of an impact on commodities but on
the margins that's certainly a negative for that sector ... It
could be something that comes back to weigh on investors' minds
in the weeks ahead," Picardo said.
  Lau said the index's ability to hold above the supporting
50-day moving average around 13,725 is a positive sign for
markets, with resistance seen around last week's multi-year
peak near 14,300.
 "I think it's pretty well an oversold bounce. The market
has been kind of shell-shocked with two very big 'black swan'
events ... the short term uncertainty is higher than we've seen
for a long time," she said. "Japan is still battling with the
nuclear fallout issue and Libya, with the no-fly zone it looks
like it's going to prolong the Libyan civil war."
 Among financials, insurers outperformed after a recent
selloff tied to exposure to Japan.
 Manulife Financial MFC.TO gained 2.4 percent to C$16.82,
while Sun Life Financial SLF.TO climbed 0.7 percent to
 ($1=$0.98 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)