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

Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:13pm 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 dropped last week to
their lowest level in more than two years, while consumer
spending rose in October. [ID:nN24211131]
 "The biggest news today is the jobless claims number, which
dipped to the lowest level since the recession officially
began," said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio
manager at Baskin Financial Services.
 This helped drive financial stocks up 1.1 percent, led by
market heavyweight Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, which gained
1.8 percent to C$54.96, and National Bank of Canada NA.TO,
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 developments overnight in
terms of Korea," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global
Securities, in Vancouver.
 Tensions in the Korean peninsula and euro zone debt
concerns helped yank the Toronto index down more than 1 percent
on Tuesday, but the United States said on Wednesday it believes
North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island this week was
an isolated act. [ID:nL3I6MO04H]
 This helped the market see Tuesday's drop as a buying
opportunity, Picardo said. He added, however, that he expects
the index to struggle to make meaningful gains in the near
term. Canadian stocks have risen nearly 12 percent since late
 Toronto trading activity could be thin on Thursday as U.S.
markets, which typically have a considerable influence on the
TSX, will be closed for Thanksgiving.
 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 climbed 3.5 percent to C$8.57,
while Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO was up 1.9 percent at
 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 10 TSX
sectors gained ground.
 Uranium miner and processor Cameco Corp CCO.TO 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]
 Cameco was among the strongest issues in the
heavily-weighted materials sector, which rose 0.17 percent
despite weaker gold-producing stocks.
 Fellow uranium producer Uranium One UUU.TO rose 6.9
percent to C$4.97 after the company received U.S. approval to
proceed with a planned sale of a controlling stake of itself to
a Russian state-owned miner. [ID:nN24218636]
 Among declining issues, Maple Leafs Foods MFI.TO 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]
 ($1=$1.01 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Cameron French, additional reporting by Jennifer