4 Min Read
* TSX rises 45.24 points to 13,234.18
* Nine of 10 sectors stronger, led by energy
* Golds drag on broader materials sector (Updates with details, commentary)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, June 30 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index pushed higher for the fourth straight session on Thursday after the Greek parliament passed a second austerity bill designed to prevent a default and U.S. economic data beat expectations.
Powerhouse energy issues led the gains, advancing 0.9 percent as U.S. crude oil prices held above $95 a barrel.
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was the most influential gainer on the index, climbing 1.4 percent to C$40.55, while Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) jumped 1.6 percent to C$36.03.
Much of the recent rally has also been attributed to end-of-quarter window dressing by fund managers, who sell losers and buy winners to make their portfolios look better.
Philip Petursson, managing director of portfolio advisory group at Manulife Asset Management, said he expects the positive flows to continue, though positions are largely in place for the end of the quarter.
"I think what the markets are doing is breathing a bit of a sigh of relief on Greece," said Petursson.
The Greek parliament approved detailed austerity and privatization bills on Thursday in a crucial vote to secure emergency funds and avert imminent default on its debt, but longer-term dangers still lurk. [ID:nL6E7HU0SS]
Also encouraging was U.S. data on Thursday that showed business activity in the Midwest grew more than expected this month, helped by a jump in new orders, while weekly jobless claims were flat. [ID:nN1E75T0J8] [ID:nN1E75T07N]
"I think the economic data that we're seeing isn't as dire as what people had maybe built in their heads in terms of expectations," he added, noting the temporary impact of supply chain disruptions out of Japan. "We will see a decent reversal and more positive economic data in the back half of the year," added Petursson.
Thursday also marked the official end of the Federal Reserve's $600 billion bond-buying program, known as QE2, though market players have indicated the event has been fully priced in.
At 10:40 a.m. (1440 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 45.24 points, or 0.34 percent, at 13,234.18.
Nine of the 10 sectors were stronger, including financials, up 0.4 percent. Base-metal miners rose 1.3 percent as copper prices rallied, while gold miners skidded 1 percent on the risk-on mood, taking materials down 0.6 percent. [METL] [GOL/]
Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) was the second most influential gainer, up 1.4 percent to C$77.35, after an upgrade to its price target. [ID:nL3E7HU16T]
TMX Group (X.TO) shares were down 0.4 percent at C$44.01, a day after the London and Toronto stock exchanges canceled plans to combine forces. That pushed a consortium of Canadian banks and pension funds into the driver's seat in the takeover battle for the Toronto Stock Exchange. [ID:nN1E75S1EI]
Shares of Sino-Forest TRE.TO dropped 2.3 percent to C$2.61 after ratings agency Standard & Poor's cut the beleaguered Chinese forestry company's corporate credit rating. [ID:nN1E75T0AH]
SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC.TO) rose 2.1 percent to C$57.74 after the Canadian government said on Wednesday would sell the nuclear reactor division of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd to the engineering company for C$15 milion plus royalties. [ID:nN1E75S1Z4]
($1=$0.96 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)