CANADA STOCKS-TSX jumps on US housing data, gold retreats

Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:36pm EDT
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   * TSX up 78.78 points, or 0.59 percent, at 13,332.92
 * Eight of 10 main sectors stronger
 * U.S. housing starts spark rally
 * Bank of Canada sets stage for next rate hike
 * Golds heaviest decliners as bullion snaps 11-day uptrend
 (Adds details)
 By Ka Yan Ng
 TORONTO, July 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed higher on Tuesday as investors were cheered by healthy
U.S. earnings and housing starts figures, which offered relief
from worries about the U.S. and European debt crises.
 U.S. housing starts jumped to a six-month high in June, up
14.6 percent from a month earlier, while building permits were
also unexpectedly higher.
 The report offered hope for the distressed U.S. housing
sector, which has been a major laggard in the economic
recovery. [ID:nN1E76I0AD]
 Prices for oil, copper and other key resources rallied in
response to the data, sending shares on Toronto's
commodity-heavy market higher.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed up 78.78 points, or 0.59 percent, at
13,332.92, its highest finish in more than a week.
 Eight of the index's 10 main sectors were up, rising on
renewed hope for the U.S. economy. The oil and gas group posted
the biggest gain, up 1.83 percent. [O/R] [MET/L]
 "The new housing starts actually beat estimates, and they
actually not just beat consensus, they beat the most optimistic
estimates out there," Marcus Xu  director of equity investments
at Genus Capital Management in Vancouver.
 "It's a bit of a surprise because we all know the U.S.
housing market has been one of the most disappointing
  Top advancers in Toronto were Suncor Energy SU.TO, up
2.24 percent at C$38.39, while Potash Corp POT.TO gained 2.34
percent to C$57.62. Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO climbed
2.36 percent to C$40.42, while Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO
was up 1.46 percent at C$79.42.
 On the downside, gold miners slid 2.53 percent as bullion
prices eased from record highs, snapping an 11-day rally, as
safe-haven demand dropped. That weighed on the index's
materials group, which declined 0.73 percent.
 Goldcorp Inc G.TO, off 2.69 percent at C$51.37, was the
heaviest decliner after helping to lead the gains on Monday.
Barrick Gold ABX.TO, the world's biggest gold producer, was
down 1.74 percent at C$46.21. Eight of the 10 most heavily
weighted decliners were gold miners.
 News that U.S. President Barack Obama's support for a
bipartisan proposal that promises $3.75 trillion in
debt-reduction over 10 years also helped keep stocks
well-supported during the session.
 Also, quarterly numbers from technology bellwether
International Business Machines Corp and soft-drink giant
Coca-Cola helped underscore sentiment that the U.S. earnings
season is off to a solid start.
 The Bank of Canada held its key interest rate steady at 1
percent, as expected, on Tuesday morning. However, in its
statement accompanying the rate decision, the bank hinted more
strongly than before that it would resume hiking rates
  John Kurgan, senior market strategist at commodity futures
brokerage Lind Waldock, said the statement served to attract
investment to the domestic market.
  "I don't think interest rates are going to skyrocket here,
but I think investors worldwide are going to take some comfort
when they look towards Canada. They're going to see a firm
currency, they're going to see an economy that is getting back
to normal," he said.
  "A lot of these things right across the board are showing
me that the Canadian economy is going to be the envy of the
world here."
 ($1=$0.95 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)