CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher on oil price, U.S. data

Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:43pm EST
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   * TSX rises 108.24 points, or 0.85 pct, to 12,901.99
 * Financials, energy issues lead gains
 * Maple Leaf sags after Teachers' sells stake
 (Adds details, quote, official close)
 By Cameron French
 TORONTO, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose
strongly on Wednesday as robust energy prices and strong U.S.
economic data overshadowed worries that Ireland's debt crisis
could spread to other European economies.
 New U.S. claims for jobless benefits last week dropped to
their lowest level in more than two years, while consumer
spending rose in October. [ID:nN24211131]
 This helped drive Canadian financial stocks up 1.1 percent,
led by market heavyweight Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), which
gained 1.8 percent to C$54.96, and National Bank of Canada
(NA.TO: Quote), which climbed 2.1 percent to C$67.12.
 "Even as Irish bonds are plunging, the concerns about the
whole Europe situation seem to have dissipated a little bit,
and there haven't been any remarkable development overnight in
terms of Korea," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global
Securities, in Vancouver.
 The United States said on Wednesday it believe North
Korea's shelling of a South Korean island this week was an
isolated act tied to leadership changes in Pyongyang.
 Also giving the commodity-heavy Toronto market a boost was
a 1.3 percent rise in energy issues, as U.S. crude futures rose
about 3.6 percent.
 Precision Drilling (PD.TO: Quote) climbed 3.5 percent to C$8.57,
while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) increased 1.9 percent
to C$39.84.
 All told, The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 108.24
points, or 0.85 percent, to 12,901.99, as nine of the ten TSX
sectors gained ground.
 Uranium miner and processor Cameco Corp (CCO.TO: Quote) jumped 4.4
percent to C$37.58 after it said it signed a long-term
agreement to supply uranium concentrate to China's state-owned
nuclear power company. [ID:nSGE6AN0DZ]
 Among declining issues, Maple Leafs Foods (MFI.TO: Quote) fell 10
percent to C$11.41, after the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan
said it would sell its 25 percent stake in the food processing
company. [ID:nN24209129]
 (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson)