CANADA STOCKS-Gold pulls TSX to highest close since April

Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:53pm EDT
 
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 *TSX closes up 69.95 points at 12,234.51
 *Gold hits record high
 *Fed seen holding policies steady
 *Nine of index's 10 sectors higher
 (Updates to close)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
finished the session at its highest closing level since April
on Monday as gold prices hit a record high and other commodity
prices gained, lifted by expectations that the U.S. Federal
Reserve will keep its policies steady at a meeting this week.
 The index was firing on all three of its most powerful
sectoral cylinders -- materials, up 0.8 percent; energy, up 0.7
percent; and financials, 0.3 percent higher.
 Gold miners rose 0.6 percent as bullion prices rallied for
the fourth straight day, boosted by growing expectations that
U.S. interest rates will remain exceptionally low as the
economy struggles. [GOL/]
 Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote), the world's No. 1 producer,
gained 0.6 percent to C$47.80, and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) added
more than 2 percent to C$44.91.
 "With gold still up on the day and oil recovering ... it
doesn't take very much to get things going," said Irwin
Michael, a portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
 Other big gainers included oil company Canadian Natural
Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote), up 0.9 percent at C$34.58, and Manulife
Financial (MFC.TO: Quote), which jumped 3.8 percent to C$13.48.
 The move comes a day ahead of a Fed meeting at which the
central bank is expected to keep current stimulative measures
in place but is not seen taking new steps to ease monetary
policy.  [ID:nSGE68J04M]
 "I think most people think it will be unchanged and there's
a lot of cash on the sidelines," Michael said.
 Driving momentum, the S&P 500 .SPX also closed at a
four-month high as a long-awaited break above a technical range
and a flurry of positive corporate news increased investor
optimism. [.N]
 Michael noted "there's been incredible bearishness out
there," and that Canadian investors were reassured by the
dramatic rally south of the border, while getting ready to add
to their portfolios ahead of the quarter end next week.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed up 69.95 points, or 0.6 percent, at 12,234.51,
its highest finish since April 26. Nine of the index's 10 main
groups were higher. Healthcare stocks were down 0.7 percent.
 Also boosting the TSX, heavyweight Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) was
up 0.6 percent at C$152.53 despite BHP Billiton's (BHP.AX: Quote)
chief executive saying the Anglo-Australian miner has no
intention of changing its $39 billion takeover offer for the
world's biggest fertilizer producer. [ID:nN20274944]
 Base-metal miners climbed 2.2 percent and First Quantum
Minerals (FM.TO: Quote) shot up 3.7 percent to C$69.91 as the price of
copper was lifted by market talk of further quantitative easing
by the Fed. [MET/L]
  Teck Resources (TCKb.TO: Quote), however, fell 0.6 percent to
C$39.10 after Canada's largest base-metals producer trimmed its
third-quarter and full-year coal sales forecast.
[ID:nN20272204]
 Research In Motion RIM.TO fell almost 3 percent to
C$46.38, after India asked mobile phone operators to upgrade
their networks to help security agencies intercept
communication on BlackBerry devices. [ID:nDEL003435]
($1=$1.03 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)